Feeling the Chill

The obligatory hilarious carrot
Tasty turnips, parsnips & leeks

My motivation is currently dipping slightly, especially when surveying the fields and their mix of weeds and mud, and decaying summer plants. This time of year is always tricky when it comes to the outdoor stuff: the weather isn’t cold enough to kill off the fleshy weeds, or pests, and no hard frosts to make the mud hard to walk on (just nice and slippy when carrying heavy crops around); plus the moisture and occasional sun means that grass, chickweek and other weeds are hanging in there and even making a determined comeback. However, at this time of year with the end of outdoor leafy crops such as salad and spinach in sight, and frosts around the corner (hopefully) to take care of some weeds, it just doesn’t seem worth it to make the effort of weeding – especially as all the leafy crops would end up covered in mud at the end. So at the moment ir’s a case of averting your eyes, or looking at the weeds and mud as a sign of health, and habitat for wildlife (although this does take a time to adjust your perception).

20161026_115620 20161024_093036Fortunately there are some good-looking crops to cheer us up: the beetroot has done well over in the newer back field this year, as have the leeks again, and parsnips are also looking good (despite accidentally sowing too thickly, I’m going all-out for baby parsnips to roast whole this year!). There’s still plenty of wildlife around too, for good or bad: I’ve spotted several of these leopard slugs around, and the one in the picture spent pretty much the whole day lasy Monday hanging around the outside of the module tunnel in the drizzle. Apparently they only eat dying vegetation, and even other slugs: although I find it difficult to trust any slug to do what it’s supposed to.

20161019_100004There are still lots of signs of pesky roe deer around too; just when the latest leaf beet crop was looking super-lush and ready to pick, the following day both ends had been attacked and scoffed by deer, with footprints and droppings in the soft ground giving them away. They’ve also been having another go at the late lettuce outside, drat them. Roll on the tunnel crops in a couple of weeks I say…