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May 21 2009

Posted By: paul 04/06/2009 07:06:00

Another eventful week in the life of he Gardeners' Calendar editor, (Ooh! that does sound posh).

Another eventful week in the life of he Gardeners' Calendar editor, (Ooh! that does sound posh). Last weekend was packed with local events to entertain us country folk. With the local Morris Men turning up to a 'Beating the Bounds' event on Sunday. Which translates as the traditional event of walking around the parish boundary and beating a child at appointed locations. With the village children becoming scarce in the days leading up to the event the tradition has lapsed and now just walking the boundary will suffice. This is followed by Beer and BBQ, hence the presence of the Morris Men to add to the overall ambience of the occasion. On the Saturday there was a May Fair followed in the evening by a Barn Dance (also with beer), so all in all not much gardening took place last weekend. Hence why I'm telling you about it instead of my gardening exploits. This weekend coming is looking quite busy too, with some sea fishing on Saturday and a Goose Fair on Sunday, it looks like the planting out of the 'Three Sisters' will be taking place on Friday evening, and the weeding will be on Sunday evening. If that wasn't enough to be getting on with, imagine my horror when on Monday morning my laptop decided to die. A quick call to the Dell man and it turns out I had wisely opted for a support contract, and the nice man from Dell turned up to fix it the next day. Phew! Well almost anyway, the laptop has now developed a new problem where by the bottom row of keys Z to ? are all shifted to the right, so X becomes Z etc.. The nice Dell man will be back today to mend that bit but it does mean the newsletter is a little tricky to write. Have you ever noticed how many times you use the keys on the bottom row? Trust me it's a lot. Meanwhile in the garden, the raised salad bed has exploded with growth and I'm now eating Rocket and Spinach with everything. A great recipe for lunch is to take some warm shredded pieces of Chicken, and sprinkle them over a large bowl of Spinach and Rocket. Also add some dried Cranberries, and a drizzle of Honey & Mustard dressing. I'm pretty sure I wont get fat eating it, even if the bowl of leaves is piled high. Last years Rocket didn't do as well as this years as it bolted pretty early on. This year however I have planted the salad crops in the new raised bed which is in partial shade of a Willow tree. It's about 30 feet away. When the seeds where sown the tree was covered in catkins but no leaves and as the seedlings grew, the leaves on the tree have gradually reduced the light levels reaching the ground. As increased light levels are one of the causes of 'Bolting' the Willow seems to have solved a major problem. I guess you could call this a form of 'Companion Planting', similar to the concept of Forest Gardening where a symbiosis exists between plants and trees of different sizes. I will write an article on Forest Gardening when I get a free minute. I was thinking the Willow is only performing a single function, and therefore it's quite an expensive (in symbiotic terms) tree to grow, but then I remembered it also produces Salicylic Acid which is similar to the active ingredient in Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) and has been used historically as a medicine to reduce fever and can also be used to treat Acne. In case you are wondering how they used it, the inner bark was infused as a tea and the drunk or rubbed on depending on the treatment required. Don't take this information as medical advice by the way! I think with a bit more research into the subject maybe it could be used medicinally. Who knows? Maybe everyone will end up growing Willow trees to use as a headache cure.

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