Winter Update

Peas start waking up
Snug in the module tunnel

Well if January turned out to an oddly busy month due to the milder temperatures (still picking outdoor leafbeet mid-January, weird); then February was also a funny month in terms of lots of things on the go. Today however, following the freezing hail thunderstorms, I’ve decided to hide inside and have a breather, while planning all the next batch of monthly jobs.

I’ve been turning the hotbed – which has now really dropped in temperature, so I’m hoping there’s enough energy left in it to

Hotbed: manure well colonised by white fungi

keep my poor tomato seedlings warm enough in these coming cold nights. Horticultural fleece is currently my friend during this cold spell (reclaiming piles of it from under the tables in the propagation tunnel, where it had been colonised by sneaky mice), and will hopefully do enough to keep the tomatoes going; as well as bringing on all the seeds now sown in the module tunnel: lettuces, spinach, spring onions, rocket, micro leaves, kales, kohl rabi and peas for shoots.


I’ve drilled a few rows of early beetroot in the Little Tunnel too, which started to come up nicely last week, but now seem to have been razed to the ground by something or other: could be mice, could be slugs – yet there’s not many hiding places for either in the tunnel. Where’s the CCTV cameras when you need them?

Grump toad
Compost delivery

I’ve also taken delivery on another truck-load of green waste compost: over 5tonnes of this lovely black soil conditioner was dropped off next to the polytunnels, and I’ve already shovelled around 20 barrowloads onto some of the herb beds, raised beds (disturbing a very cross-looking hibernating toad as I did so); and into the Vole Tunnel (having cleared out the salad there) – then wheel-hoeing it in before drilling early carrots in there (Purple Sun, White Satin & St Valery – Yellowstone seed was unavailable but apparently is on its way now and will go in asap).

Carrots drilled in the tunnel

I’ve also squeezed in a couple of rows of coriander next to them too. This tunnel has been pretty much decimated in the last year due to the storms, and needs re-covering desperately: I’m just hoping the plastic stays on long enough to get the carrots established, so I can them cover them with more fleece when I have to take the plastic off. Then it will be a case of waiting for a still, sunny day (HAH!) to re-skin it. The skinning of the tunnel should only take a few hours, and will be a fun volunteers’ day, probably in early April, with free yummy lunch from the café for all my lovely volunteers. If you’d like to come along and join in, and also learn how to cover a tunnel, email, and I’ll keep you posted about when the likely day will be!



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