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Jan 29 2009

Posted By: Paul 08/05/2009 07:12:00

This week I am getting the ground ready for early sowings by placing sheets of polythene on the ground to warm the soil. One thing I would like to try, but I don't know if I will get time, is to build a homemade polythene cloche over the top of a raised bed. I saw a design on TV several years ago where a couple who where growing their own veg had made a micro-polytunnel using sheets of polythene and hose pipe for the arches. The pipe was about 1.5 metres long and each end of the pipe fitted onto a six inch nail hammered into the edge of the raised bed, forming an arch. The polythene was draped over the arches and secured in place by passing string over the top in a lattice pattern. A nice cheap alternative to the expensive, and somewhat brittle, shop alternatives.

Also this week I am looking for Bee friendly flowers to put around the garden. We have a nice little collection of solitary Bees in the garden and they are very good pollinators of the apple trees. In fact I am told solitary Bees are better at pollinating fruit trees than honey Bees. If you know different please let me know. I don't want to diss the honey Bees, they've got enough on their plate at the moment with the Varroa mite. Some plants I have found to be good for all Bees are Borage, Comfrey, Chamomile, Cornflower, Heathers, Marigold, Nasturtium, Raspberry, Snapdragon and Sage. Not only are they good for Bees, most of them can be used as food or fertilizers. Snapdragons and Cornflowers are poisonous and I don't think Heathers would do you much good either.

If after all that is done, I will get on digging some trenches for my Runner Beans and fill them with fresh and steaming manure, and then leave them open for a few months to calm down. You can put Cardboard and paper in the bottom of the trench first if you like.

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