AS I frequently comment, watch out for what the locals are doing and that could well be an indication at what to do next in the garden. Blow me, if this week the municiple gardeners in Puerto Pollensa were cutting back some of the trees along the sea front pedestrian walk, more than just pruning, they were cutting the trees back almost to the bare trunk, not a bare twig left in sight.
This I know they do every year resulting in an avenue of perfectly cared for trees. So that is a chore you can get on with if you have not already done it. Some say cutting back should be done during the time of the waning moonand we are in that faze of the moon now. That is another matter strictly upheld by the old farmers, jobs to be done according to the moon fazes, planting during the waxing moon and cutting back during the waning.
I arrived home that same day to find my son cutting back the Bay trees, not simply cutting back but really leaving them nearly bare of Bay leaves so we now have a mountain of tree cuttings to get rid of. Fortunately Bay, as an evergreen burns beautifully so there is no need to wait for them to dry out just watch that non of the neighbours have their washing hanging out to dry and that it is not a windy day, maybe some of the other garden rubbish will be able to be burnt along with it.
Another gardening job that is pretty obvious is an untidy lawn. Although the Bermuda type grass doesn’t really start to grow its healthy blades of grass until about the month of May, the long runners that make up this bouncy type of lawn seem to run along the edges. It has been commented to me that there seems to be no tool that really works for keeping the edges of this type of lawn tidy.
One pulls at a long runner and you can quite easily end up with several feet of this hardy grass that no strimmer or cutting machine seems to get through, its just a hands and knees job pulling and cutting with the secateurs. Lets face it, tidy edging to the lawn are just like a tidy short back and sides hair cut, when it falls all straggly over the ears its time for the barber.
I admit I do enjoy a lawn and love to see it cut and tidy edges. The grass cuttings of course are wonderful for the compost heap and even now in mid winter one can feel the heat within the pile that the grass generates to help the decomposing. It also makes the compost easier to keep fresh when kitchen and vegetable waste is thrown on it, a little hole in the grass cuttings where this waste is put and then covered with the grass to avoid flies and such getting at the rotting vegetables and help avoid any nasty smells.
A really well handled compost heap should of course not have unpleasant smells but be kept as fresh as possible by turning it from time to time so that it has either the grass cuttings as a top layer or turning over the really well decomposed waste to cover the new deposits . In fact it is a suggestion to make a habit of turning the heap from time to time leaving a little open trench for the next lot of kitchen waste, pop that into the trench and cover it which at the same time unearths another little trench.
You will find at the same time, right at the bottom, plenty really well prepared potting soil ready for use. Here it is as good a time as any to fill a couple of large flat trays, I like to recycle the polistyrene trays from the fish monger for example.
These trays filled with fresh compost can stand in the sun until they are needed for planting up or mulching and during that time the sun will have sterilised the soil. It doesn’t matter if it dries out, nothing likes to live in dry crumbly soil, insects run away and weeds don’t germinate, at the same time you have the potting soil all ready for when you need it.
The weather of this coming month could well be those March winds so be sure to secure everything but at the same time we enjoy some really lovely sunny days to be able to get out and potter in the garden. Some more fragile plants in pots could wait a while longer before planting outdoors.
Tomatoes of the early varieties that are already inflower will do better indoors, repot into a larger pot if in doubt. Try not to break into the root system, simply transfer the root ball into a larger pot already prepared with fresh compost and then add more around the sides to fill the pot well in. Water well and the plant will probably show no signs at all of having been transplanted.
- Watch what the locals are doing for a really good indication of what to do next in the garden.
- Some say cutting back should be done at the time of a waning moon, we are in that phase now.
- Compost heaps should be turned from time to time to keep them fresh and avoid nasty smells.
- Leave a little trench when you turn the compost for the next lot of waste and then when you add it you can cover it over and in turn leave another trench for the next lot of waste.