Sweet Harmony

IMG_20140627_152122 copyAs I’m typing away, the clouds are still ominously dark, although there hasn’t been a rumble of thunder for a good half hour now. IT’S BEEN RAINING THOUGH, HURRAY! When the first few drops fell yesterday late afternoon, I felt the hot parched earth sag with relief (although this prolonged sun has been great); and almost thought I could hear the plants breathing again and having a good glug. Fortunately the crops I had managed to irrigate (even a little) with the drip lines have been growing great guns in the sun; the brassicas only had one session since I planted them a couple of week ago, yet they’re looking surprisingly healthy. I was worried that the un-irrigated parsnips might suffer as I started weeding them; the tall weeds gave them some shade, and created a microcosm of moisture that they seemed to like.

IMG_20140626_125012 copyHowever the thistles and endives were getting ridiculously tall so I had to start pulling them out last week, putting the weed waste in between the rows to keep some moisture in; nearly finished now, just over a row left. The endive has enormously long roots, so is a right pain to get rid of; however it does mean it can pull up moisture and useful nutrients from deep down – so I try to think of it positively and consider it a kind of green manure, making things available to the plants I actually want to grow there, as the endive is pulled up and left on the soil surface to break down.

 

This empathy with the plants and congenial weather has made me feel very harmonious with nature (and it’s Friday of course, always a help to a good mood), so I’ve been floating around humming to myself; while wheel-hoeing the spinach yesterday, tortoiseshell butterflies flitted around IMG_20140627_150351 copyme happily, and didn’t even seem bothered while I hoed right next to them. I also found a gorgeous scarlet tiger moth (thank Twitter frineds for helping me identify it!) resting on the endive while weeding the parsnips. A swallow nearly landed on my head too; the wildlife and I seem quite comfortable with each other at the moment. Mind you, this could also be because things are growing well (and vulnerable crops such as brassicas and leeks are netted); as soon as I catch a rabbit eating some rare strawberries, it might be a different story…

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Tunnel: Up!

IMG_20140612_163126 copyIMG_20140612_134337 copy  IMG_20140612_131921 copyYes, meet the lastest addition to the family: the new new little polytunnel! Since I’ve (tried to) rename the New Tunnel the Vole Tunnel, by the hedge, I could call now this one the New Tunnel; however maybe something like Barn Tunnel might stick better, since it’s the closest to the big barn. The boyf and I skinned in and got it all dug in in just a few hours; we’re getting pros at this polytunnel lark! It’s super hot in ther now (duh); I’ve just thrown a few spare tomato plants in there, sweet peas and leftover nasturtiums, and may put something in the other half; or just keep it covered until autumn salads/celery. So great to have more space; although no irrigation sorted yet… It’s a faff to water by hand, but doable for now since it’s so small…

Green Scythe Fair Sunday 15th June

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© Ed Harding

I am really looking forward to the Scythe Fair down in Muchelney, Somerset tomorrow (from 11am) in this lovely jubbly summery weather! I’m sharing a stall with some green woodworking chums and also make hand forged tools; so if you’re at a loose end and fancy a true taste of summer, come along and say howdy in the shade of our shelter, before the scything competitions get underway (or indeed the beer and dancing). I’ll have mixed salad bags for sale, sweet pea bunches, pots of tagetes and mixed basils; plus of course there will be signed copies of Gardening For Profit: From Home Plot to Market Garden at a special festival rate! There’s always a great mix of delicious food (and drink), random things for sale, plants, kids area, books… all with a sustainable and environmental core. Perfect Sunday planned!