Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Spring news

Now that spring is really here – the planting is going full tilt. Our propagators and cold frames are stuffed with peppers, tomatoes, beans, courgettes, peas and chillis. It is great to see the seeds coming on so quickly - the salad leaves are looking lush and we are already eating the baby spinach.

The weather at the weekend was beautiful…just right for some back breaking toil at the field! We earthed up six rows of potatoes – doesn’t sound like much, but they are very long rows and it’s pretty heavy soil. We also got to try out the new rotovator – which really does the job. Would have taken us several weeks of hard digging to get anything like the lovely fine tilth it produced in no time. Having said that it is a heavy bit of machinery and a good work out for the upper arms.

Despite the not very fine soil when we started planting a month or so ago, we have seen some great progress already…the broad beans are coming up really well and the asparagus is growing so fast it may need to be staked to avoid serious wind damage. The currants and raspberries and gooseberries are also doing well – currants in flower and may soon need protection from the dreaded pigeons.

We did a lot of hoeing and had to resort to weedkiller to get the worst affected areas sorted. Another heavy job with a backpack sprayer – but thankfully a very still day so no chance of destroying anyone else’s crops (I hope!). All in all a very satisfying day…and looking forward to more progress next week.

One last update, I spoke to the farmer today about our pigs and they are going off to slaughter in 2 weeks time - so very soon we will be having our own pork on the menu - how very exciting!

That's all for now...

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Happy Easter

Well time has just flown recently and I can't believe that it has been so long since posting an entry here. As usual this doesn't mean that things have been quiet - in fact the complete opposite.

One of the most frustrating things lately has been trying to organise a contractor to do the fencing on the sheep field. Until we have a fence up we obviously can't take delivery of the sheep, while not time critical yet that time is fast approaching. Some of the contractors couldn't be bothered to submit a quote and those that have are quite frankly taking the proverbial. That of course won't put us off - it just means that we will do the fence ourselves.
Always looking to create an opportunity, we have decided to buy the fencing equipment rather than hire it, hopefully an investment for the future and who knows we might even offer our fence building services and generate a bit of revenue in the future.

Anyway, that's enough about fences... for now...

A happy Easter Afternoon spent at the field. Lots of growth – the asparagus and rhubarb have come on amazingly….as have the weeds. URG! We did some emergency hoeing but the we’re not sure how our weeding skills will keep up with the relentless growth.
Also managed to earth up 6 rows of potatoes and put in four new rows of potatoes (using a new and, we hope, less labour intensive planting method – earthing up into mounds and popping the chatted seed potatoes into the ridge). Back breaking work but we had the whole family involved and it got done remarkably quickly.

Pictured below are the potato rows, our row of rhubarb and the awful green haze of weeds that we need to tackle.

We are painfully aware that all our allotment neighbours have a great deal of netting over their crops….which doesn’t bode well. Talking to another allotmenteers, it seem like there is a big pigeon problem in the area. So we are now trying to figure out how best to save our seedlings from the birds.

On another Eastery note, the children had great fun painting Henny Penny’s beautiful white eggs and playing catch with them in the garden until they smashed (and were devoured by our grateful dog).

Right, that's enough for now, off to see a man about fence supplies...