Shh! Carrots!

OK, don’t tell anyone (well, don’t tell the slugs and rabbits anyway); but I actually have three lovely lines of young carrots in my polytunnel! Yes, I did try and sow thousands of carrots outside, on three separate occasions from April to July, and the slugs had every one of the tiny seedlings once they came up – each time – argh; but the fact is, I won! Hah hah hah! Oh dear, need to watch this hysterical laughter. And the carrots I have are really only a small fraction of the amount I was expecting by now. However, I had all but given up, and put those three rows of carrots in the tunnel in desperation in July; so even though it’s a small victory, it still feels good to see the lush growth and promising orange carrot shoulders peeking out from the ground. Minor victories are hard to come by this year, so I’m making the most of each one…

Season Overlap

I love September: summer veg is getting into it’s stride (at last!), and the earlier more wintery veg is starting to come through too. This means it’s a really colourful time when it comes to picking: multicoloured dwarf French beans (purple, green, yellow) and tomatoes, plus the brilliance of rainbow chard and beetroot, then all the imaginable greens too (cucumbers, rocket, lettuce, kale, courgettes, and lovely leeks). If fact, leeks may well turn out to be my best crop this year: they didn’t suffer very much from the wet/slugs once they got in the ground, and are in a nice spot, and I’ve managed to keep them pretty weed-free. They are now getting pretty large!

So I’m taking a minute to enjoy the glossy aubergines, tomatoes, leeks and beetroot, in the September madness. It was such a rubbish growing year, I think it’s worth celebrating these crops that made it.

Tool dependency

Halfway through wheelhoeing the brassicas

This nice dry spell has meant a good opportunity to get on top of the weeds that had also been enjoying the sun: weirdly I’m quite excited to start seeing chickweed coming through! The weeds to date in the field have been thistles, groundel, thistles, dandelion, thistles, couch grass, redshank and thistles. Chickweed means that the soil must be starting to gain some fertility now, as it’s a nitrogen lover: all those crop residues and green manures must have had some effect after all.

Intimidating engine of Howard 300

So it’s been a nice wheelhoeing week among the brassicas; I know it’s in my mind, but the young kale, broccoli and PSB really seem to look happier once the weeds have gone, and revel in the sun. While the handmade wheelhoe has been doing a great job however, I still have problems with my Howard 300 rotavator (it is about 50+ years old); it was working fine, but began to try stalling while working; then conked out and won’t start again. Having cleaned the air filter and tried a new spark plug, I’m convinced that it might be a clogged fuel issue. The only trouble is of course, that I know nothing about engines, which is a slight problem. I’m going to try looking up how to clean an engine online (!), but failing that, will need to work out a way of getting this heavy and large beast into my tiny car, and taking it to a busy mechanic. Any suggestions?!