Thursday, 20 July 2017

Changing around.....

My legs are all a-tremble and my back has gone a bit creaky,
so I thought I would sit down for a minute and have a chat with you,
because if I didn't then I would lie down and have a nap,
which is something I don't want to do because then I wouldn't get back up that ladder,
which is what caused the tremble and twitching.
Why am I up a ladder?
Because we have a need to get the downstairs front room finished off.
It was supposed to be a room for paying guests but we have moved beyond wanting to do that for the moment, so the room has remained unfinished and become a dump room.
Floating around my head during recent weeks has been a growing concern about how I don't seem to be able to keep plants growing successfully from seed, which is something I need to do for the Market Garden Project. Some of this is my lack of experience, but a lot of this is to do with the ups and downs of the weather. The temperatures are not stable enough to keep trays of seeds germinating in succession. Some are alright, such as brassicas, but others such as lettuce are fussy.
 So what am I supposed to do during the cold months, when I have plants needing to be kept away from possible frosts, and when I need to get crops prepped for next year.
A poly tunnel? We are thinking not. We can have very high winds zooming along the edge of the nearby hills and we are concerned about the whole thing tipping over, which happened to a friend's poly earlier on this year. I know they can be anchored down, but we feel unenthusiastic about the work that will take.
So we err in favour of a poly carbonate greenhouse, which we are going to build when time permits.
Meanwhile, winter is on its way. We know this because we felt the year turn last week.
I began to think that perhaps I could park pots of seedlings in the hallway over winter or put them on a table in the middle of the Half Barn under the velux windows in the roof.
And so it was that an afternoon pow wow after the afternoon nap which resulted in me up that ladder painting and the problem of what to do with the seeds has found a solution.
We are going to move out of the Half Barn and let the MG Project have the space.
Lots of shifting of furniture to do, lots of painting, lots of cleaning, so lots of busyness ahead.
and hopefully a more stable growing environment for the little seeds.
Work in progress....
..... and the Half Barn which is going to have a change of use....
Little Milly is in season again, but Bonny and Lissie seem not to be having seasons at the moment, so hopefully this means that they are in calf, although during a storm last night Bonny slipped and took a nasty head over heals tumble  on the way to the barn, which left her limping on two legs. But this morning, although slow to get up onto her feet, all four legs seem to be back in working order again. Hopefully this has not damaged her expectancy.

Meanwhile, Veg Plots 1,2, and 3 are still doing well, but harvesting and preserving has slowed down because of the diversion of our time. Not to worry, I always knew we would over produce this year.
But I have managed another five pots of courgette jam, and Lester has started working his way along the rows of potatoes. He has already dug up a load which are already in the kitchen, and this is another barrow load waiting for me to sort out....some for canning, some for long term storage, and some for immediate use.

Running out of energy for bringing the potato harvest in, we decided to have a musical episode, me with the accordion and Lester with the guitar. It made a fun interlude.
Still lots more potatoes to be brought in though.
It has been a good harvest.

We are very green for this time of year thanks to the many storms we have had,
which is not so good for the holiday makers and those who like to sit out in the sun,
but good for farmers and country folk like us who have produce to grow which needs the water.....
Ah, a storm is brewing so I had best close down the computer in case of another lightning strike to the electrical systems of the house. I seem to be brewing the fear inside of me of getting blown up. Silly, I know, but the recent lightning strike did put a healthy respect for the force of nature in me.
I have come to realise that there is not much we can do about it when nature flexes her muscles,
and nature has being doing a lot of that lately.
Best to say, ' What will be, will be' and then carry on......
Bye for now,


Cro Magnon said...

I'm leaving my Potatoes for my Grandsons to harvest. They are N London Townies, so digging spuds should be a new experience for them.

Vera said...

CRO MAGNON, what a good idea! We don't have any visitors this year, so do not have extra hands to help!

Kev Alviti said...

I think a polytunnel is much stronger agaist the wind than a greenhouse. Dug in properly and the plastic buried under earth it would take some moving. What about a dug in wallipini? They look amazing!
As for getting seeds to behave use shade cloth on some plants, also make sure you store your seeds somewhere cold as this will massively affect germination rates.

Rhodesia said...

I have dug up a few of our potatoes but there is many still to go. I find they store well in our barn in potato sacks and we only finished of last years a couple of months ago.
We have a green house which has done us well, but we have heating init, so if we have a very cold spell then things go seriously wrong.
We seem to have an overflow of carrots and parsnips and the sweet potatoes are looking healthy so it will be interesting to see what sort of crop we get there.
I hope that Bonny is OK, not good that she took a tumble.
Keep up the good work and keep well, Diane

Kev Alviti said...

Someone just mentioned these on my blog - polycrubs give it a google, they look really strong!

Vera said...

KEV, thanks for your advice, it is always welcome. We might get a small poly to use to harden off young plants waiting to go out into the vegetable garden, but we shall use a poly carbonate greenhouse for winter growing because they can be heated and will stay warmer than a plastic covered poly. I use shade covers and rarely lose any young plants, but it is the germination rates of seeds for succession sowing that is iffy for us, hence the grow room project.

DIANE, we are keeping the potatoes in hessian potato sacks as well. We kept them in paper sacks last year, and we also had potatoes up until a couple of months ago. We have trouble growing carrots and parsnips here because of our stony ground, but I am experimenting with growing carrots in a trench of compost, and so far they are doing well.
Bonny is doing OK and does not seem to have any noticeable damage after her fall, which is a relief!

Janice said...

Vera you are always so busy. Just think. all this hard work in the initial stages of your market garden will pay off in the long run. I would love to be there helping you with all your canning!

Vera said...

JANICE, it is in our thinking to do as much prep work now rather than open and then do prep work. Would love help with the canning!

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

Your potatoes look wonderful! I've had a sad garden year myself. Weather, mostly, but also Japanese beetles. Hopefully next year will be better.

Kerry said...

Busy, busy Vera. All our new potatoes are out and are now stored in an old freezer. Our French neighbours recommended using one as its insulated,the spuds are off the ground and just keep the lid open just a tad for ventilation. It's working well so far.