It’s been a fraught week plagued with domestic disasters and concluding with us losing power to the house altogether. There has been progress in the garden, not as much as I’d hoped but here’s an update in the style of the weekly meme Six on Saturday. If you enjoy it why not have a nosey at what other people are up to in their (altogether more organised) gardens by visiting The Propagator website.
Didn’t get round to preparing the bed so I tried a short cut by throwing some well rotted manure directly in the trench. To avoid the tubers coming into direct contact with it, I layered manure, soil, then the seed potatoes followed by more soil, more manure and finally raked the top soil back over to form a mound. Completing the second row I was horrified to discover I had actually been through the whole layering process and forgotten to add the potatoes! Had to dig the whole lot back up again. Doh! It’s been one of those weeks. Planted, eventually: Premier, Charlotte, Anya and Pink Fir Apple, which are my favourite with fun knobbly tubers and delicious yellow flesh perfect for roasting.
Purple Sprouting Broccoli
Despite being in prime condition at the end of last summer, these plants took a terrible battering over the winter and were in a sorry state, brown and bent over and held up with bailer twine. A few have recovered and are flowering now but most of the crop had to be composted which was such a shame as it had taken up space and time since being planted last May. As well as this Purple Sprouting we are currently harvesting over wintered greens Spinach, Kale and Parsley.
I always struggle with the spacing of these so went armed with a diagram, a tape measure and two string lines. I have a double row of plants brought on in the greenhouse and well hardened off and another double row of seeds which should mean the plants crop over an extended period and we will have plenty left for the freezer.
We have such a short growing season in this neck of the woods, blink and you miss it. Many years I’ve missed out completely on squashes and pumpkins because the first frost has struck before the fruits have matured. Determined to get ahead of the game I germinated these pumpkins inside and am currently ferrying them in and out of the greenhouse as the weather dictates.
Heating the greenhouse
I’ve had to use a small paraffin heater in the greenhouse a few nights this week as temperatures have dropped dangerously low. Paraffin is not only expensive, it’s unreliable and I think I mentioned last week that on one occasion the heater exuded a black smoke which clung to the glass and the whole greenhouse had to be scrubbed. I’ve been researching a number of alternatives this week which will fit in with the fact we are off-grid and electricity, when we have it, is limited and expensive. I’m most interested in one suggestion which is to make compost inside the greenhouse. If done correctly with a good mix it would result in a hot weed free compost which heats the greenhouse at the same time.
The Poly Tunnel
This is the answer to making a huge step forward with our drive toward self sufficiency. Ok so it’s just a pile of metal poles and wood at the moment and has been for the last few years since I bought it but when we finally get round to putting it up the poly tunnel will extend our growing season and help bridge the hunger gap which is this period when gardeners are busy growing but there’s nothing much ready to eat. Any advice on how to go about putting one up or what to grow would be gratefully received.
Just in case you are wondering how I’m able to post this blog while struggling with the power supply to the house could I point you to this new post Our Swallow and other Stories which gives a better picture of how everything works.