It's been a fabulous day! This morning we went to my sister's home, about 20 minutes away, to collect a rooted Christmas tree to plant in our garden. We stayed for a quick cuppa and chat and then called in at our local garden centre on the way home. I found a six-pack of foxgloves and one of delphinium and also a cranberry bush to add to our soft fruit collection.Once home I found a suitable spot in the paddock to plant the tree, not too close to the fence or to other trees, so that it will have plenty of space to grow over the years.
It's a handsome little tree, despite being very prickly and will remind me of our first Christmas here every time I look at it.
After lunch, I spent the afternoon in the paddock, measuring and marking out where the vegetable garden will be using the plans we drew up yesterday. It will eventually measure approximately 80 feet square, but to start with I am going to concentrate on one half of it so the plot for this year will be 40 feet by 80 feet. Having marked out the size and shape using canes and twine, I laid the first pathway. Every task I do outside seems to take such a long time, partly this is due to moving more slowly than I used to (as a result of being unwell) and partly because I keep getting side-tracked by the chickens. They are such funny creatures, always busy, always ready to have a 'conversation' with us, they are getting bolder and more fun every day.
Just before dusk, I remembered to take a soil sample from the paddock so that I could do a pH test to give me an idea of the sort of plants that will thrive and whether I need to look at adding specific organic matter to help adjust the soil pH.
It seems conclusive that the soil in the corner of the paddock is pH neutral, which is good news as I can adjust different areas to grow different plants if I want to.
Last night I found a great little online garden planner from Suttons Seeds which I started to use to design the garden and keep a record of what I've planted where. I will print it out and keep it in my garden plans book to refer to as and when I am ready to sow seeds and put plants in, and for reference for future years. This should help me ensure that I am using a good crop rotation, which will be essential if I want to get best results from an organic garden system.