Friday, January 14, 2011

Cutting back, Moving forward

This was supposed to be a feel-good photo. Somebody is bound to see these broad beans and feel really good about their own crop by comparison. This is not a dwarf variety and they should have been towering over me instead of knocking my knee caps. The photo doesn't do justice to the rust splotched foliage and the stubby pods, some of them split by a late rainfall after neglect and drought.

It confirms my favourite cleaning adage which relates to everything in life it seems:  If it is worth doing it is worth doing badly (courtesy of fly-lady). What that means is better to do a poor job than none at all; a small crop is better than no crop and we are the only ones that seem to really look forward to them anyway. No surprises there.
The red flag of secatur handles is to remind me to mention that I cut them off at the base and leave the roots in with their nitrogen nodules and microbial hangers-on to enrich the soil.

The wheelbarrow back there is as heavy as a tank. My own one has a slow puncture in the tyre and I have added a repair rescue to the wish list which includes all tools sharpened for the New Year and have them stored in one place. Pat on the back for me because I am already chipping away at that list: I've cut back the entangling branches and moved  obstacles that catch the hose on the daily watering walk. Very satisfying to streamline routine activities.
Some of the stawberries got a weed this week and a clip and a handful of compost for the most promising runners. The rest were removed.

The website for all things garlic says to harvest it when you have about 5 green leaves left. If you leave it longer the bulbs will be bigger, but have fewer layers of that papery skin which is what helps it to keep. Because I'm a numbers gal, I can tell you that there were 227 large bulbs and 80 too small to put in the mix. We'll use them first.  They are conveniently out of the picture and for the record, my seed garlic for next year, ie the biggest and the best happens to be top of the trolley for transport. It is a fabulous crop but not as great as the photo makes out.
I have tip pruned the peach branches back to each fruit to encourage the tree to put everything into it.  Have done the same to the plum and apple tree branches also. The theory is that a summer prune will not create a landslide of regrowth next year and by tip pruning the branch, back by 2/3, the tree throws out more fruiting spurs on the existing branches. The greengage tree in particular had grown long leggy branches with fruit on the tips but very little (ever) in the centre of the tree.
Pruning is alot like cutting your childrens hair. It takes nerve to start and then it's hard to stop. From experience I can tell you that the tree won't burst into tears at the sight of a mirror, nor do you, the pruner have to hold back maniacal laughter as the exhileration of clipping (just one bit more...) sweeps you away.
The tree does not run away either.
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  1. oh I love that expression from the fly lady .. what a great cure for perfectionism. Looking forward to seeing you this week!

  2. Love your analogy to cutting children's hair. Happy New Year Miriam

  3. Also like children's haircuts administered by a parent, I wonder if the other plants tease the pruned one "did you have a fight with the lawnmower?".