Growing Season Is Tough on Gardeners

The Journal (Newcastle, England), April 8, 2006 | Go to article overview

Growing Season Is Tough on Gardeners


Byline: By Bill Weeks

Spring appears to be in full bloom now, with the arrival of all that sleet, slush, rain and hail!

The snowdrops have just about finished and those hosts of golden daffodils so beloved of Willy Wordsworth are slowly emerging from their green sylph-like sheaths.

Sparrows, starlings and the fugitive pigeons who have taken roost in our bailey wick all greet the dawn with great acclaim.

All very well, but there is only one thing wrong with the approach of sweet-scented spring, and that's the garden.

I don't have much of a garden now, but when I did, come spring, there it brooded, a tangled mess of snowy water, a trampled down carpet of grass species that the text books on botany would graphically describe as weed infestation of the worst order.

And this lot had, somehow, to be dug, forked, cultivated and brought to some semblance of seed bed before receiving its due share of seed potatoes, carrots, radishes and assorted plants of the cabbage species.

In those days I used to listen to Percy Thrower. I was an avid follower of Ken Ford's Gardeners' Question Time.

And I looked with awe, wonder and a great deal of amazement at the cultivating prowess of my late father-in-law of Coxhoe.

But being of an idle nature, this gardening caper, flower or vegetable, just seemed to defeat me.

Yet it had to be done.

I don't know if you've ever attempted to turn over a rich sward of weedy tangled turf that's literally interlaced with couch grass, docks and dandelions ( but for someone of my sedentary habits, this task was well nigh impossible.

But when the Weeks hen enterprise was functioning ( P.M.F (Pre Mr Fox) ( it was a relatively easy task, as these carnivorous creatures, refugees from Kirkley Hall's battery cages, would effectively devour every iota of emerging weed in their search for greenery.

Not only would these hens turn over soil and vegetation, but they also acted as a source of rich, organic manure. …

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