Monday 29 April 2013

Path ponderings

We have quite a few grass paths on the plot and they take a fair bit of maintenance. The other day I thought, hmm maybe we should have less paths or at least maybe less grassy paths?

On reflection, and as there are a hundred other things to try and sort out, I figured the paths are quite good after all. If I keep the cuttings separately I can use them as mulch (which I did last year but had forgotten) - good for putting round the strawbs, other fruit bushes, potatoes and a whole host of other uses. Pile them up and let them dry out, and a short while later, hey presto, free mulch!

The photo below is from a couple of weeks ago. It's looking much more lush and green now though, after a bit of rain. Need to get me shears out!

Click on it to view the full photo (added via a mob and it came across a bit funny)

Monday 8 April 2013

Parsnips, potatoes and parsley

Dug up the last of the 'snips yesterday as the tops had started growing a bit too much. We had parsnip and potato chips for tea yesterday, both homegrown. Funnily enough it was that old coincidence that I sowed this years parsnips yesterday too, between the rows of broad beans, sown with radishes to mark the rows as the 'snips take ages to germinate. The broad beans have finally started to peep through, which is exciting. I'd sown them direct in January under some enviromesh but had almost given up.

The curly parsley sows itself around the plot (originally self-sown from a neighbour's) and yesterday went into homemade falafels, with salad leaves from the lean-to. I have started using split dried fava beans (I.e dried broad beans) to make falafels, produced by Hodmedod's Great British Beans, grown here in Nofolk. Lovely local product and they include a handy recipe book too.

Saturday 6 April 2013

A day in the sun

Today was sunny, hurrah! The site was busy with several people making the most of the weather, including some newbies - it's good to see the derelict plots being used again. Let's hope they keep up the momentum, last year two sets of new comers only lasted one summer before giving up. It's a shame to see their crops going unharvested.

Despite the predicted continuation of poor weather I decided to risk putting in my early spuds - sharpe's express. They won't appear above ground for a while so hopefully they'll be ok. I prepared the bed the other day, dug a trench, added ripped up cardboard and horse poo and watered the trench before filling it back in. It meant today I could just make holes for the individual pots so only took a few mins.

Everything is really dry! Funny, when you think how much snow we had but more recently we haven't had much rain and our sandy soil dries out really quickly, hence adding cardboard to the potato trenches for extra moisture retention. JB weeded the strawb bed which I then watered. I need to add some compost to the bed but didn't want to trap in the cold water, so it should have warmed up in the sun when I go back tomorrow. Same for the asparagus bed and raspberries.

The wind also dries the soil out and can obviously damage crops. I bought some reed screening from Wilkos 1.8m high for £14 I think. I cut roughly in half height-wise to get double the length and also as didn't want to create too much shadow. Have put this along the south-west boundary as this is the prevailing wind direction. Will see how this gets on before buying any more. Am also hoping to make some willow wind-breaks.

Pruning one of the sage bushes I saw my first ladybird of the year, lovely. And a robin and chaffinch were singing nearby. Jackdaws were flying past with twigs in their beaks. JB saw a butterfly but wasn't close enough to see which type. She saw a bumble bee too. Surely it must mean spring is finally here!!

Tea tonight included baby leeks  from the plot (or actually leeks that just didn't grow very big hehe) and some some salad leaves from the lean-to in the garden. Oh and some lambs lettuce that I needed to clear for the potatoes. Quite satisfying!