Every day now it feels like we are making headway in the garden, this week we’ve brought in 4000 litres of compost to put on the newly manured beds, and that gives us a really nice fine surface to sow and plant into. It’s pretty late now, but we’ve lots of winter brassicas, as well as onions and garlic to go in soon. Any beds that we don’t use will get covered for the winter to keep them weed free and protected until the spring. We’re using fencing wire hoops and netting to protect these young brassicas, because withinĀ  minutes of planting them out, cabbage white butterflies and pigeons had arrived to have a go at them. The polytunnels are more or less under control, tomatoes coming on fairly well, though we could do with more sun to finish ripening them, and it looks as though there are some squash nearly ready too.

After weaving – the newly tamed willow hedge

One thing that really needed taming was the willow fences that we planted around the veg garden to stop hens wandering in. Some areas have grown better than others – some are literally 10 foot tall, and some 3 foot, but that’s mainly down to keeping it well weeded when it’s establishing. Anyhow, it was shading the veg beds pretty badly, so I decided to weave it all down, and then it will put up new vertical shoots, probably next spring now, though we might see some late growth. The difference in light is amazing, and the next job is to weave the entrance archway as it is about 18 foot tall at the moment.

A tyre fitted to the top of a big log is perfect to hold logs in place while they are split

The woodpile has also been pricking my conscience, as we’re nearly into September now and it should all be split and the woodshed full. Actually it should have been in months ago but hey ho. The pile is so enormous that I’m cutting a bit at a time and then splitting it, so that the job doesn’t seem quite as daunting. Luckily it’s mostly ash, beech and sycamore so fairly easy to split, but I’m conscious that the drier it gets the harder it will be to split, so I need to crack on.

Compared to much of Ireland, it has been remarkably dry over here on the east coast, with the result that our energy inputs for July and August have been the best ever. We fired up the new solar array in June, so that will help, but 650kWh a month is good going. That’s more than 25% more than the same time last year, and the total is limited by the amount we actually use, added to whatever it takes to heat the water in both houses, so theoretically we could generate more.