For months there, it seemed like winter would never end. The longest, wettest most miserable winter in memory for many. But now here we are at the start of June and all that is a distant memory – the heatwave has arrived, and once again water is very much on our minds but for a very different reason. The thunderstorms seem to have dodged Lackan and we haven’t seen a drop of rain for a while now. Fortunately we are (sort of) prepared.

Over winter we got our rainwater tanks set up, and safely surrounded by the strawbale barn. In this amazingly hot weather it has a very pleasant even temperature inside, perfect for storing our food. It means that we can water the tunnels with the stored water, and boy do they need it.

The other thing we did was mulch all the outside beds with a pretty heavy layer of horse manure. Although its gone pretty crispy in the sun, it is keeping moisture in the soil below, and is suppressing the weeds very well so far.  We’ve also made these water pipe hoops to keep the birds off the young crops.  Once they are established we’ll move the nets onto another bed.

The challenge now is giving all the crops a chance to get ahead of the various things that are competing with them so vigorously at this time of year. Some plants, like the willow, seem to be thriving despite the dry conditions – our living hedges are establishing well, and providing valuable habitat as well as acting as a boundary.