Chopping Back


Richard Bell's Wild West Yorkshire nature diary, Sunday, 16th September, 2007

greenhouseI’M ONTO THE THIRD and final section of the hedge by the new vegetable bed, trimming back the high overhanging top, which I’ve neglected for so long. It feels more light and airy as I go down the path and I’m sure that will result in better growth of crops, although the beans and brassicas have done well despite the shade.

There’s the temptation to keep on going, trimming back and seeing the hedge take shape, but by dividing it into three 8 foot sections – behind the shed, behind the bins and along the path – I’ve been able, over the last three days, to shred the trimmings in manageable quantities as I go.


I can’t recommend that you do this at home, but I’ve been spreading the trimmings on the lawn and running a sturdy electric rotary lawnmower over them. Each section produced a barrow-full of green, finely twiggy material that could go on the compost heap. I took out the few larger branches and forked twigs, including anything over three-quarters of an inch, and I’ve added those to a habitat pile by the hedge in the meadow area.

I wore safety goggles and stout shoes as I worked because twigs fly out in all directions, usually near to ground level. One fragment of twig plopped into the pond and the common darter dragonfly darted over to investigate.

plant potGone to Pot

It’s the time of year when unfortunately I have to admit defeat with certain projects; for instance the Cape gooseberry that we planted from seed, the tree spinach which we bought at Yorkshire Lavender and the four sweet peppers we were given, have just sat in pots and never been planted on. You can’t do everything and we’ve had more crops this year than in any previous year. Next year I might manage those extras.

Squashes are appearing on the Three Sisters beds (sweet corn, beans and squash) that we planted here and at Barbara’s mum’s. Small, yellow and spindle-shaped. Hope we get to try a few.

I had a problem with the dip pen and ink in the drawing of the greenhouse; it kept blotting, I’m not sure why. I replaced the Tower pen nib with a new one and that seemed to solve the problem.