Wednesday 28 February 2024

Mission Creep - Greenhouse Edition...

 I kept standing in that 8ft by 6ft greenhouse and thinking it wasn't really big enough for me. My head touches the top (I know I can raise it up), and I love my bigger greenhouse, the air flow is better and it is the real hub of my veg garden. 

I decided then to have a look at buying a new greenhouse, there's a good range of them out there, but for the size I wanted (12ft by 8ft) they start at about £1,000 for a budget model (with some pretty terrible reviews) and upwards from there. One I'd be happy with was about £2,700, which is so far out of my budget! 

My last one was second hand, so I decided I should look on eBay and other sites. 

Monday 26 February 2024

Mini Pancakes On Tin Cans

I sometimes help with Scouts as well as Beavers (and Cubs), last week I did a double stint. Helped with Beavers first - we were doing languages and world learning, but all run by the other leaders so I didn't do huge amounts. Then I stayed on to help with the Scouts. 

The Lesson sounded fun anyway - cooking mini pancakes on top of bean cans. 

Saturday 24 February 2024

Sow It Begins

With the bit of sunshine touching the bare earth here in Herefordshire I decided I should begin to put a few seeds in the dirt. 

Now it takes a lot of control not to go crazy here, but a few things do well really early, and I like to make a couple of gambles with some seeds. 

The peppers, chilli and aubergines it's perfect to get them in now (I've been trying to hold off). The mini cucumber is an experiment to see  if I can grow a couple of really early plants on the windowsill in our bedroom. The children love the mini snack cucumbers I sometimes get from the shops so they've convinced me to double down on those (I think I've bought 4 different varieties). 

Thursday 22 February 2024

Greenhouse Clean up & Plans

We've had such a wet few months I've not done hug amounts outside. But with flashes of sunshine it makes me want to be out in it - I even dried a load of washing on the line today! 

I need to get myself organised if I want a good growing year. The big greenhouse has been a dumping ground. Time to get it cleaned up as this is very much the heart of my annual growing here at the smallholding. Old plants out, all the rubbish gone. 

Tuesday 20 February 2024

Short Rotation Willow Coppice - Managing 1 & 2 Year Regrowth

 Back in January I cut the next section of willow coppice. When I did this I also decided to tackle the job of managing the regrowth on the other sections I had previously cut. 

The maintenance for the willow doesn't take long, but it is essential it's done every year to keep it growing just how I want it. 

Sunday 18 February 2024

12th Year Pruning My Orchard

I pruned the rest of my orchard a few weeks back. Hard to believe it's been in 12 years now. That decade and a bit has gone so fast.

It's never been the ideal place to have an orchard, it's overshadowed by some bigger trees and in a bit of a pocket at the bottom of the garden, but it's fruited well. It's interesting seeing the difference of growth with some that get a little more light though. 

 I always enjoy pruning it, and it doesn't really take very long to do. I have one damaged tree I'm trying to bring back up to health with some heavy pruning, but the rest is fairly straight forward.

I filmed the process and have the video above, I know some find it helpful to see how others prune and to see that it's not rocket science, it's just a matter of getting in there and having a go. 

Let me know what you think. 

Friday 16 February 2024

Juxtaposition - Carved Workbench

 I walked back into my workshop of Tuesday after lunch, it was wet and miserable outside, but the one shutter was open to throw some natural light into the room. 

I liked the juxtaposition of the chainsaw next to my workbench as the low light fell over it. 

I think it makes quite a striking photo. Although it does remind me I need to make some handles for that workbench at some point! 

Tuesday 13 February 2024

Winter Scout Camp

 Scout Camp At Cranham 2024

For me this picture above sums up what children need more of. A camp fire, some hearty food, a bit of company and a few sticks to poke in the embers. 

This weekend just gone was hard work. I went as an extra leader for the scouts as normally I'm in Beavers. But it shows how long I've been a leader now as many of these scouts were my beavers some seven years ago! 

Wednesday 7 February 2024

Knots Into Practice

The other day I went and did a job on a block of apartments in Malvern where I end up doing quite a few maintenance jobs.

This time they were having some chimneys repaired and had a scaffold up the 5 stories, plus extra to get to the top of the very high chimneys. 

On the roof were two very heavy cast iron vent pipes and one big vent pipe constructed with some cast and some asbestos. 

Monday 5 February 2024

Willow Coppice For Firewood - 3rd Section Cut

A few weeks ago I managed to carve out enough time to tackle my little section of willow coppice. 
This is the third cut now and I'm really enjoying seeing what we get from it and the regrowth in its different stages. 

This is the wood from one average sized tree. Most only had one or two stems though as I've didn't do the cut it down at year one, it just hadn't put on enough growth by then. 

Saturday 3 February 2024

Pruning The Jostaberry

 I've been properly attacking my soft fruit this year. Last year I missed out on pruning the bushes and the quality and quantity of fruit really suffered. 

So I've got busy and really gone in heavy with my cutting on my dozen or so blackcurrants and dozen or so gooseberries. 

Thursday 1 February 2024

Seed Swap This Saturday

It's almost time for one of my favourite days of the year! The Seed Swap in Hereford! 

I've been going to this for nearly a decade now and I've been helping for quite a while as well (I think I started helping in 2018). Although I don't do much in the way of organising or planning, but I turn up full of enthusiasm, with a hundred packets of seeds or so and talk all day about growing! 

 So if you're in Hereford this weekend then please come down and say hello. If you don't have seeds to swap you can just leave a donation instead, you can honestly get all the seeds you need for the year if you time it right. 

I'm bringing a few blackcurrant and Jostaberry with me as well. 

Be great to see you there! 

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