March’s veg plot and seed plan

It feels like it’s time for an update on what’s happening in the veg plot and growing areas, with all the talk of The Food Challenge and the general ventures we are working on…so before it’s too late, we best get on and grow some for when we’re up and running!

I do love March, Spring is on it’s way.  It kind of just pounces on your unexpectedly, even though you may have spent much of February feeling like it would never arrive.  There’s so much more daylight and time to get out and get things done.  


Personally, my time starts to transition from spending lots of time in the house cooking and preparing to being outside, preparing and growing.  It’s still a reasonably quiet time of year for gardeners (not so much smallholders as chicks and lambs start arriving!).  I start to notice that a coat, hat and scarf are too much when working outside, you can feel the sun on your clothes through the glass in the greenhouse, and if you are really lucky, when walking outside feeding the animals.


Yes there’s still frosts and sometimes even snow, but both are very pretty and give you a (very!) fresh start for the day. 


Gone by mid morning, these mornings give way to blue skies and the need for sunglasses to drive safely on the reflective roads!  Come 6pm, there’s still a short amount of daylight to be snatched before giving in to the evening. 


Before you know it, it’s 8:30pm and you’re thinking about the bed time routine before you get up and do it all again.  I love to see the shift in seasons and it’s clear we are bang smack in the middle of the Winter to Spring shift right now.

In March, the temperatures can vary dramatically, so don’t get caught out thinking there won’t be a frost, which we have done before.  In fact, only last year were the fruit trees killed off when a very late May frost killed the blossom.  I really hope that doesn’t happen this year.  With that in mind, I still am still sowing seeds with a view to keeping them protected in various forms until they can move on to their final spot.  I’m not just sowing the hardier seeds either, at the end of the day if we lose some, then we will have more to sow.  It’s all trial and error every year.

At the moment we have stagger-sown the following since 14th February:

Red and white spring onions 
Leeks
Broad beans
Peas
Kale – different varieties
Beetroot
Salad leaves
Tomatoes (a couple of testers)
Cauliflower
Red and Green cabbage
Aubergine
Different beans
Courgettes
Turnips
Sprouts
Potatoes (currently chitting)

We are seeing these seeds come through nicely.

Radish, multi sown
 Salad leaves, tomatoes
Swiss chard, beetroot, salad leaves
Turnip, radish, sunflower, Swiss chard, beetroot, salad leaves
I will continue to stagger the seeds I am sowing to have plants at different ages, to hopefully mature at different stages.  They do sometimes tend to catch up which is nature for you and can be frustrating when you get a glut despite planning not to. This year we are hoping to not only supply ourselves with ALL of our own vegetable needs, but also to do a couple of veg boxes to sell with the eggs we are selling weekly.  Another exciting challenge!
Nothing should go to waste to be fair, even if the veg boxes don’t take off, we will preserve and the chickens and pigs will have what goes over as inevitably things do.

So the seeds are in and being kept warm as needed.  The veg plot is manured/mulched and covered up to warm the soil ready for planting out.  We had the shock of our lives the other day when one of the horses managed to get through the garden gate and made her way in to the veg plot.  We fixed up the damage she did but only time will tell as to whether she has killed anything off!

In the veg garden, which is different to the veg plot, we have our polytunnel that’s 4 years old now.  Highly recommended if you’re looking for a cheaper one, this is 6x3m.  Over the last few weeks it has taken a bashing from the various storms and is starting to need some TLC so we have made some adjustments to it.  Where the zip is starting to come apart we have zipped it closed and adjusted the clips to be longer so we don’t have to keep undoing it beyond the zip.  As you can tell, that was a Ste idea!  Saved us time and money on costly repairs.  Bonus.

The polytunnel will soon be planted up with a couple of kale, radish and salad leaves to get the crops moving on quickly.  I’ll grab some photos when I do that.

Sowings over the next week or so will include tomatoes and peppers, more salad and turnips and second sowings of what’s already in.  We are getting pigs in 3 months which we also are going to grow as much food for as we can, so marrows, turnips, swede, leafy greens and so on.  It’s going to be a very busy growing season, so outside we go!! More pics to follow 🙂

Hedgerows, puppies and yukky things

I’ll start off with hedgerow photos.  Outside my house starts a bridlepath.  There’s a multitude of things along the bridleway however at the start of it, where my fence is, are bramble bushes.  Now I was mightily excited about these when I moved here, thinking we’d have hoards of brambles coming out of our ears and planning all I could do with them.  So I was disappointed to say the least when we got none!  They looked like they were starting to develop but just never did.  So I am wondering if we should cut them back down to the ground and let them start a fresh? 

I think we will strim the whole area and see what’s what.  I think there’s room to plant some small fruit trees/bushes out there.  I’ll chat with Steven about it this weekend.  We do have enough on our plates already, but my brain doesn’t switch off it seems!

Poor quality, my hands were freezing and wet.  The area I’m talking about is on the left.  Hi Rodney 🙂
More of a close up
My gorgeous girl, she could run this place single handed, she is so good.

Seen as though Rodney snuck into the top photo I thought I’d show you the dogs (I still call them puppies a year on) playing in the barn the other morning, whilst I was doing the horses.

Obviously something has been here, but what?  15 mins then were here for.
Rodney got bored before Buster

He realised he may be there for some time, waiting for his brother

 

We didn’t find anything Mum

Finally to the yukky bit.  My veg box arrived on Wednesday as expected so I used some of it to go with tea.  Jack, my son, love cauliflower at the moment so I was pleased to see one in the box.  Cutting into it, the flesh seemed a strange texture and on investigation it looks like slugs have been enjoying their winter in there.  I rescued some of it but as you can see in the yellower coloured photo on the top middle floret, there was lots of slug slime (?) all over.  I think I stabbed the slug when splitting it down.  Ooops.



The joys of growing your own (even if I didn’t grow this one)
Happy Friday everyone and have a fabulous weekend.  We’re hoping to start our next project this weekend, more soon. 
Tracy 🙂

Veg plot update

The rhubarb has taken off in a dramatic way so any time tested recipes will be greatly received.  I do love rhubarb crumble but that’s all I ever have made.  I made the rhubarb cake recently which was lovely so anything else anyone recommends I am happy to give a go.

There’s more asparagus ready to harvest, it’s shooting up left, right and centre and tastes divine!!

The remainder of the veg plots are coming along nicely but there are 2 which I just cringe at every time I look.  They shout “painful back, blood, sweat and tears” at me every time I look. They are going to take a lot of TLC to get up to speed but I need them up and running so let’s stop moaning and crack on.  One is going to be for the broccoli, more caulis and cabbage.  The other bed will be for squashes.  I have some started in the greenhouse and the remainder are going in this weekend. 

Tomatoes are doing well and some are flowering already!  The plant which we didn’t know what it was?  Well, I think may be a bean plant of some description, looking at how it’s coming along.  I have more tomato seeds in which are late but I will ripen them off the vine if I have to. 

Aside from these 2 veg beds there is one that only has currant bushes and rhubarb in (the one I made the cake with, yum) and nothing else, so there’s a lot of wasted soil space to me.  I have done the lasagne method with the spare space. Anyone seen it?  I put newspaper down over the weeds (didn’t bother to pull them out, will soon know if that is a bad idea) and then lots of our lovely horse manure over the top. This will compact and rot over the coming weeks when I will add another layer of newspaper, grass cuttings and manure and in a few months time we will dig the bed over in the hope for good soil and no weeds Or we’ll have some cracking weeds that thrived on the manure when the newspaper did nothing!  It’s an experiment and saved my back doing that bed
On a night when I’m locking all of the animals up, I wander round the veg plot and close up the greenhouse and my mind is already drifting to next year and what I want to start off early in the greenhouse, when can we afford a polytunnel, what should we put in each bed to rotate it etc.  I love it growing our own things.  We have so much to learn, it’s fabulous!

Strange old day

It’s been a strange old day today. I haven’t been well due to a cold that’s leaving my eyes streaming, nose running and making me sneeze what feels like non stop.  I decided to work from home so I could feel sorry for myself in peace and not spread my germs around either. It’s been part sick day, part work day. I had one meeting to join and some bits of paper work (online) to see to. As I’ve not been well I haven’t done what I would normally do in the house if I were to be alone at home nor have I done the level of work I would if I was in the office. So I feel a bit, strange! That’s the only way I can describe it.
My husband was at work as normal and the kids in school. My lovely mum picked them up for me as the meeting I had was right over school collection time.
Instead of riding the horses they have had a few hours out in the field each meaning I can snuggle up in the house earlier than normal and fight this cold.
I don’t suppose anyone has any home grown cold remedies? Natural ones?
In seed news the first planted are still growing strong. The others are making their way in to the world and doing well.  No more chicks have hatched so looks like 9 out of 18 eggs. 50% will do for me for the first time. They have such a loud cheep, it’s lovely to listen to.
Tonight or tomorrow I must organise the pantry before the big delivery on Friday. Don’t let me forget.
First lot of seeds
Second lot of seeds
First lot of seeds
View from my window seat