Official Start of 2014 Season

IMG-20140227-00774 copyYes officially (well, in my head), it’s the start of the new growing season today – hurrah! Even though I’ve sown a few trays of lettuce and kale already, and the tomatoes and peppers have started to germinate, the real start of the growing season feels like today because a) the sun came out, and b) I’ve drilled the first lot of early spring crops in the polytunnels!

While the sun has been qualified by several blumin heavy hail storms (don’t know what I’d do without polytunnels to duck in to; those large hailstones really hurt!), I pulled out the first lot of winter salad stuff that had come to an end from the Fivepenny tunnel on Monday, and the last of the spinach and celery from Marmalade tunnel; pulled up IMG-20140227-00772 copythe Mypex cover, and left the ground to dry for a few days (thanks for being sunny, weather!). The soil was still a bit on the damp side this morning (surprise surprise after the winter we’ve had); but I wasn’t going to be put off, so dusted off the trusty Howard 300 rotovator and got going. Well, got going for a time anyway; poor old (actually really old) rotovator has seen better days, and I suspect that the clutch plate has gone yet again, because after a few rows of chugging away, it ran out of grunt and needed nursing back to base. Drat; will take it in to Bishop’s for a once-over, and hope this is not the end for Howard & I…

Still, Howard did do a good job for most of the space, and fortunately the soil was in pretty good condition – prIMG-20140227-00771 copyobably partly because it was covered in Mypex, so kept weeds down, and let worms etc do their thing, leaving nice fluffy soil underneath. So I just raked over the last unrotovated bit – it does make me think I should put more effort into trying to make the polytunnels completely No Dig – Charles Dowding would be so proud!

With a half-decent tilth in Fivepenny drying in the sun, I could then drill 2 rows St Valery carrots, 2 rows Purple Haze, and 2 rows Yellowstone; plus a row each of coriander (Filtro), beetroot (Bolivar Detroit 2) and spinach (Renegade of course). Plus I also managed to sneak in 2 rows turnips (Milan Purple Top), a row of rocket (Esmee) and pea (Progress 9 for shoots) in Marmalade. Just got to hope that I can harvest these before it’s timIMG-20140227-00773 copye to put the later tomatoes out in Marmalade at the end of April/beginning of May…

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