Spring bank holiday

What beautiful weather we’ve been having, perfect growing conditions with long sunny days and dare I say it, a long wet day on Sunday! The rest of the week is looking fine so I’m hoping to see some growth on my brassicas. They’ve been shredded to skeletal remains by something! The first batch do seem to be recovering but their growth is definitely stunted and therefore I don’t think brassicas are doing as well as last year. June will be the the deciding month. I think it’s been colder this year earlier on too.

I’ve spent some great hours in the veg plot, greenhouse and polytunnel, though there’s many more hours needed in them. The weather I spoke of is great for the weeds too!

The tomatoes and peas are looking good though again, I don’t think we’ve as many peas as last year. Still time to sow some more of course and I have discovered just the spot for those.

Bush Tomatoes
Polytunnel peas
A while back I sowed some Purple Top Milan turnips in the polytunnel and they all went to seed, so I am guessing it’s too warm for them.  The pigs had them for their supper last night.

 In order to net off the fruit bushes growing alongside the rhubarb, we needed to harvest some more rhubarb which was fine as it’s had a rest since the last harvest.  Here’s Grace stood with some of the harvest and the leaves which were almost as big as her.

 I tried to thin the carrots out a bit more and when I pulled this one out I nearly died of shock.  I’ve never been able to grow carrots before! 

On Sunday we all went for a lovely, long, family walk out.

 The dogs could smell something but we couldn’t see anything.  Maybe a rabbit was just here.

We also netted the strawberries as they have shot up out of nowhere.

 As have the currants and gooseberries

Inspired, I then decided to have a wander round the veg plot taking snaps of how we’re doing.
Rhubarb and currant area

Onions with catch crops in between

The start of direct sowings coming through with quick crops interspersed.  Chamomile is closest here, to make tea with.

 I started planting up the bean bed.  This bed had the trenches dug in it a few month ago, which were filled with veg peelings.  I need to do that at the end of this year so they rot down better next year, but they will still retain the moisture in the bed which is needed.  here we have runner beans with sweet peas in the middle, and nasturtiums at the front.  This bed isn’t finished yet but only so many hours in the day.

 This is my pea and broad bean bed which I’m just not overly happy with.  I’ve put some borlotti’s in the edge too to create an archway if they grow high enough, linked to the next bed.  I’m going to sow more peas, but this bed is the most disappointing this year so far.

 Here’s the main crop potato bed which also has comfrey along the long side as I needed somewhere to put it.  Once it’s in, it’s in, so no going back now.

Comfrey

 This bed has the early potatoes at the top and the tomatoes I’ve just planted out in the bottom.  There’s a lot of conflicting information about these 2 being planted together.  I’ve gone with the risky view as I’ve tonnes more tomatoes elsewhere, so if I lose them, I need to take it on the chin.  The early potatoes are due to come up any time now but they’re a little behind due to the cold weather start again.

 Here we have my version of The Three Sisters which you can read about online.  It’s a method for planting your squash, sweetcorn and beans/peas etc together.  I’ve got sunflowers in instead with my squash and sweetcorn.  We’ll use the sunflowers for food for us and the chickens and also to sow as seeds again next year.

 A happy nasturtium flower which are also edible!  I’ve not tried one yet.

All in all we had a lovely family weekend together.  The kids are off for half term now and they are also off next week for 5 PD days as our school clumps them all together.  Ste and I have taken this week off too, so I hope to get lots sown, grown, harvested and made during this time off.


An unplanned productive evening.

Last night I finished work, got the kids from school and as they were both tired and Grace was feeling under the weather, they pretty much went to bed as soon as they got in and had tea.  Nothing serious thankfully, just school kids and more germs, but it meant I somehow had a really productive evening.
I set about in the veg plot digging over part of the remaining bed that I’ve been avoiding.  If I take it an hour at a time, it’s more manageable than the thought of doing it all at once.  It’s about 1/3 to 1/2 done now so I am really pleased.  I’ve added more rotted manure in to the bit I’ve done tonight and hopefully come the weekend I will get the rest of the plants in there.  Then that leaves one more bed plus a space that’s previously been used for burning god knows what.  That will become my potato bed very soon.
So in between the veg plot, I had a guy come and collect some manure which combined with another couple over the last week has made an even bigger dent in the muck heap.  Once he had gone and I’d done what I set out to in the veg plot, I spent an hour in the field picking up a barrow of poo.  It’s back breaking work but it was actually quite therapeutic as it is so quiet, so relaxing that in the end I almost enjoyed it.
In the greenhouse the tomato plants have started showing lots of the yellow flowers which will become the fruit so I am now getting excited!!  How long until I can harvest my first tomato!!  Rhubarb & asparargus were divine, I wonder if the tomatoes will be!
Finally I watered my plants then put the animals to bed before collapsing into my own bed, ready to do it all again the next day, what could be better!


Dad started digging the bed for me last night which spured me in to doing more tonight.
This is one of the many muck bins, look at all those mushrooms growing!! 
Close up of one of the mushrooms
The muck heap has caved in as it’s started to rot.  3 months old, good stuff this sh1t!