It has been rather quiet here on the blog recently – first because this winter was considerably quieter than the last, and a time for reflection and planning. A lot of reading was done over the quiet months, and in some ways this has reinforced our sense of urgency in getting everything in place and running smoothly, but more of that later.
Our local volunteers William and Clare have done much to help prepare the outside beds and polytunnels for the new season, as well as create new beds for specific crops, and our first WWOOF volunteer of the season, Oscar, has done a great job helping to get new crops planted and the growing season underway.
A lot of our early seed plantings fell victim to mice, and so were re-done and kept under cover or put onto hanging shelves to keep them safe. Strawberries are growing in hanging pots made from old milk cartons –
I built this hot bed, a box filled with fresh(ish) horse manure, on which to put all the seed trays to germinate. The heat output was phenomenal, but it needs turning and topping up pretty frequently or it cools.
The little pond in our large polytunnel has become home to an amazing number of frogs, who do an excellent job of keeping pests under control. An important aspect of permaculture is using natural solutions, and the frogs are a great example.
Having Oscar on the farm meant that he and Claire were able to plant out all the seeds into modules and get the surviving early plantlings out into the beds. This year we are concentrating more on varieties that we know we will eat and less on the exotic though interesting things that we dabbled in last year.