Sunday 29 March 2020

Polytunnel Layout

With the poly tunnel covered it's got me thinking about the layout inside it. 

How would you layout a polytunnel? I normally garden in 30" beds but want this space to be as productive as possible.

Friday 27 March 2020

Don't "Panic" Plant

Seed companies have been selling out of seed or having huge orders that they can't cope.

Seeds from America!
I've seen lots of Tweets on Twitter and other sources of people growing gardens while they're in quarantine or lock down. Something I actively encourage as there might be predicted shortage of certain veg later int he year in the UK due to labour shortages as mentioned in my last post.

Tuesday 24 March 2020

Now Is The Time To Garden

Weird, weird times at the moment and it doesn't look set to get any better any time soon.

I hope everyone is looking after themselves and doing as much social distancing as possible and staying home when they can. Unfortunately my wife can't as she is a teacher looking after key workers children, but the children and I are holding up at home and ramping up vegetable production. 

I think in the coming months the shops will see a shortage in green leafy crops and some veg. With the recent floods, predicted labour shortages and now the Corona virus it's going to have a huge impact, both here and abroad. My dad has a few friends that farm veg that weren't even going to bother this year as we would have no one to pick them due to brexit, so this will compound that. And I can't see Spain and others wanting to ship much here if they have their own shortages due it the lockdown, although money talks so who knows. 

So now is an important time as gardeners to step up to the plate and grow what we can. It's also never been a more important time to be a seed saver. Online seed sellers have been selling out, our little pots of home saved seed are like gold dust! Maintaining what diversity we can in a wide range of crops has never been more important.

Doing this also will give the children and me some real purpose and make us feel mildly useful. 

As I'm looking after the kids at home they are going to become my own little "land army" and will receive a mainly "outdoor education" as much as possible. I know that hopefully there wont be major food shortages, farmers are key workers, and the supermarkets being empty are due to panic buying nothing else, but I do think it's a good time to be a veg grow, for our bellies and our mental state of being and just encase! 

Remember it's still early so don't sow too much just yet!

Look after each other, keep in contact and grow!

Sending love,
Kev and family 

Monday 23 March 2020

Isolation Cage?

This is nothing to do with the current problems facing the world. But all to do with seed saving. 

I have ten of these lovely looking board beans that I want to grow this year called Gloster Bounty. Trouble is it's not enough to eat a good meal of (when grown) and I know it likes to cross.

Ideally i'd like to build my stock of this seed up and grow it properly next year. So to do that I'm thinking about building them an isolation cage over the top. I'm not sure how well they'll pollinate then though, will I have to do it by hand or introduce pollinators like flies from fishing maggots? I'll need to do some research before that time comes! I love the idea of building my seed numbers like this! Hopefully I'll get enough to grow out a full bed next year!

Anyone else grown plants in an isolation cage and had to introduce pollinators?

Saturday 21 March 2020

Heritage Seed Library Seed Guardian!

So I've decided to take my seed saving to the next level and be a bit more serious with it. I've volunteered to become a Heritage Seed Library Seed Guardian! 

This involves a bit more commitment. Basically you "adopt" a variety that they have low stock of in the library and grow it out for them. you get to pick this from a list with the history of each.

Thursday 19 March 2020

Search For Alaska Pea!

I'm always on the lookout for new seeds to grow for the seedswap. I grow many that I get from Real Seeds but feel when I give their seeds away at swaps I'm not supporting their business. 

So now I'm trying out as many different varieties of things that I can. Whgile researching some I came across the Alaska pea. I liked that it was a super short season. Apparently used to be from England and called "Earliest of All" but I couldn't find anyone who still had it.

I put out a request on twitter after no US seed companies would ship to me. Luckily a lovely woman sent me some and more! I got this package of seeds just the other day! So I've increase my tomatoes, sowed some cucumbers and looking forward to trying these peas and seeing how they do. I've promised to send some seeds back as well.

What's the best seeds you've ever got in a swap?

Wednesday 18 March 2020

Who Else Would Have A Water Fight In March?!?

While I was in the greenhouse with my eldest I could hear fits of laughter coming from down the garden. 

The two little monkeys had decided to have a water fight!

Tuesday 17 March 2020

Panic Buying - Compost!

While the rest of the world seemed to be panic buying toilet rolls I decided to go and get my compost for the season. 

I've been trying to go peat free for some time now so it seemed idea to get some from fertile fibres and try it out.

Luckily it's not far from where I live and the staff were super friendly. I'm really looking forward to seeing how well it does for me in this season.

The boy loved it as there was this rather striking parrot at the farm where they were based as well as a peacock and cows! A little boys heaven!

I'm hoping this will be fairly consistent and predictable! I'll let you know in a couple of months time when hopefully everything is growing well.

What compost are you using this year? Do you buy much in?

Sunday 15 March 2020

Wooden Seed Trays

I had a friend call the other day who wanted some wooden seed trays making. He's a professional gardener and wanted wooden trays to complete the look of the greenhouse and potting area. He had already purchased a wooden potting tray from me for this garden

I know that cedar would be a better material to use for it's ability to last but these are made from reclaimed pine, so hopefully a little more eco friendly. I hope that if treated well, not left in the wet, dried out each year and given a top up of linseed oil every few years they should last a long time.

Friday 13 March 2020

Wednesday 11 March 2020

Chicks At Three Weeks - Sure Don't Grow Like Ross Cobbs!

 This is a terrible picture but these guys are so jumpy and quick on their feet it's hard to take one!

After having Ross Cobbs for the last few years I can't believe how slow growing these are in comparison, shows how long it's been since I hatched some of our own here!

Monday 9 March 2020

Not Buying Supermarket Eggs Again!!

If you've read this blog over the 8 years I've been writing it you'll know that in that time I've kept a lot of different chickens (never over 50 though - just encase Defra is reading this!)

And I do normally get some ex-commercial hens each year as my layers. But this year they forgot to ring me!

Saturday 7 March 2020

Seed Sowing

With a break in the rain and the sun trying to poke it's head out we decided to sow a good number of seeds last weekend.

It was still bitter cold though so we got out of the wind and into the greenhouse!

Thursday 5 March 2020

World Book Day 2020

My brood nailing #worldbookday. Funniest bit is listening to other parents moan about having to find their child a costume... mine play dress up most nights so I had no say in what they were and had put them together about a month ago!

We've got Wally, Boudica, a dragon, and Amelia Earhart.

We did upgrade the war paint just before she left for school! I jokingly told a friend I'd grown the Woad myself to make the dye and she believed me! 

I went to my workshop dressed as the carpenter from "The Village Carpenter"...

Wednesday 4 March 2020

Preserving Non Homegrown Produce

I very much fall into a trap when it comes to preserving.

I wrongly think it should all be homegrown or fresh.

Monday 2 March 2020

Planting 40 Plum Trees!

It's not been ideal conditions for planting trees, really the ground is too wet - but as they say time waits for no man so I decided we'd get them in and see what happened. 

Helpers - my eldest was poorly. 
To start with we planted up a new hedge between us and the neighbours. For this we used cherry plum trees, just little whips, and every 10ft put in a Victoria plum (they were £5) as a standard. Not sure how this will turn out but it should be interesting. I've read lots of people saying it makes a good edible hedge but when asked no one seems to have tried it!

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