From bed to bed

As spring is finally beginning to provide us with some sunny days, not only are we thinking about sowing and growing our vegetables and flower seeds, we are also taking a look at the garden with a view to cleaning and tidying too. I've targeted some of my time at the production garden, where I grow my fruit and vegetables. 

There are two parts to the work I've been doing. The first which was a few weeks ago, where the main emphasis was to clean up a scrubby area of the production garden, which consisted of a large woody Escallonia and plenty of weeds. It was a bit of work, using saws, mattocks and plenty of 'getting stuck in'. 
The result was pleasing. 

Replacing said scrubby area is a new raised bed using an old railway sleeper, capped off with some roofing tiles. I gave the bed a thorough digging, removing weeds, roots of weeds and any other odd looking items. It did take time, however the results were great, and a few weeks on there are still no weed shoots coming through. Well worth the effort.

Plants need all the extra heat and shelter they can get.

The second project I have been working on was converting an old single bed to a large cold frame. 
This was very straight forward as far as I was concerned. Remove the old bedding fabric, filling and any other materials or items, leaving you with the bare frame. It's worth taking some time to remove as many old staples as possible too, as you don't want these puncturing the plastic covering you're going to use.  
Next part was easy too. I took the new covering, stretched it over the frame, and carefully tucked in the edges and neatly folded at corners where necessary. I stapled it into place along the base to leave a nice neat covered frame.

Place on bed, et viola ... job done. 

When I posted the photos up on Twitter recently, there was a very positive reaction to the bed to coldframe conversion. I was slightly surprised at how clever people thought the idea was, forgetting of course that this was not my first time doing this type of conversion. I recycled another single bed about three years ago into an outdoor semi-covered pen for one of the tortoises, so converting this one for plants was an obvious next step, particularly with the cold April we've been experiencing, plants need all the extra heat and shelter they can get.
Speaking of which, yes, that is an old carpet on top of my greenhouse. It's had this prime location since the Fuchsia plants were moved out of the house, into the greenhouse in February. The carpet is rolled up every morning to allow the light in and rolled out every evening to help keep in the heat from the day. It's a little trick I picked up along the way, and one that I don't see used too often.  

For the Fuchsia, and other plants in the greenhouse, it's worked well so far as the plants are looking well, with 'Marinka' already showing some appreciation. 

Mind you, where we've had really cold nights, with the temperatures at freezing, plants are either brought back indoors, or covered with an extra layer or two of fleece. Well worth the effort to get some nice early flowers. 

And as we go through the coming weeks, with the weather getting warmer and milder, and the evenings getting longer, we'll certainly be enjoying more and more colour! 

Happy gardening