Rootin’ Tootin’ Time

Inquisitive jackdaw family inspect my work

Nice work spring: the fine silty/sandy loam soil in the field had dried just about enough for me to get on there with the small tractor and rotovate it in the freezing wind and ocassional hail/sun on Saturday, hurrah! Plus the weekend’s showers had dried off again by this morning (that soil really does dry out quickly, think the wind helps); so I could drill my roots, whoopee! It makes a real psychological difference, getting them in before May (just): now I don’t feel too behind.

IMG-20130429-00336I sowed a row of Hamburg parsley root, plus half a row each of Filtro coriander and plain French parsley; 1 row of Pixie parsnip; 6 rows Halblange White parsnip; 3 rows of a mixture of White Satin F1, Purple Haze and Yellowstone; 1 row of Napoli F1; 2 rows Rainbow Bunching; 3 rows St Valery; 3 rows Amerstam 2 Maxi (these two are trials varieties); and 3 rows Amsterdam Forcing.

IMG-20130429-00337I got so carried away, I also put in 3 rows of French beans (Purple Teepee, Faraday and Helios, mixed together); it’s possibly a bit early, but let’s see what happpens. The sun is also great for the gazillions of tadpoles in the pond; I could quite easily sit and watch them all day as they wiggle about their merry way. If all these tadpoles become froglets, there will be a serious slug massacre. Mwah haha…


Herby Rides Again

IMG-20130426-00330Sun and showers, sun and hail… at least this feels normal compared to last year. The sun when it comes out is glorious too; and the showers just long enough to give the plant a drink before more bright sunshine. It does make cultivating the ground a little tricky, but we’ll get there: I was hoping to have rotovated all the field patches again by now, and drilled the carrots and parsnips, but the soil’s too wet; hopefully I’ll get a window tomorrow or Monday in between the showers when the soil has dried enough.

IMG-20130426-00331This spring weather has really brought on the perennial herbs in the informal beds between the polytunnels though, and they’re looking great. I’ve already started cropping the chives, and even managed a bag of fragrant lovage; and the French sorrel looks ready to start picking next week, as a lemony salad bag ingredient, or herb in its own right. The chives are ready to flower too, and will be a real treat for the poor old bees.


IMG-20130418-00322Just a general cheer today to celebrate the current weather, with no niggling paratheses or caveats: hurrah and huzzah! Amazing what a bit of prolonged sun will do: all the seeds sown in the polytunnels a few weeks ago have germinated pretty well; the spinach and pea shoots are looking particularly good actually. I’ve managed to sown some more beetroot outdoors, along with a row of spring onions, rainbow/red(Vulkan) chard, and a row of spinach too. Plus I finally sowed the little packet of scorzonera out today, next to the globe artichokes behind the New Tunnel; partly as a wind-break as well as a crop.

IMG-20130418-00319The salads inside the tunnel are starting to run to seed now (especially the brassicas), but they’ve done really well, and might last another week. I can’t believe the first lot of red and green mustards put in last autumn are still going strong, and haven’t run to seed as quickly as the later sown and planted seed – perhaps because they are more established plants, so more energy to spare on producing more leaves, rather than flowers and seeds.

IMG-20130418-00320The clayonia is flowering, and the pretty white edible flowers are gorgeous in the salad bags, along with the mustards, chervil, lamb’s lettuce and baby chard. So hurray for Earth Day!