It's been so long since I did an update on the Croft. A great deal has been happening, and still is, on these long, long days. With such a short season, most of our energies have been directed towards the garden. Growing started pretty late here, as we had a very cold Spring, but, we have been beavering away and now have 5 large raised beds at the front of the house. We have also begun to plant a flower border, and a fruit plot. Let me give you a quick whirl around and see what's growing.
We have some bits and pieces beginning to show themselves - nothing really being harvested yet, although those garlic scapes look about ready. There are lots of flowers on the broad beans, and I think I will use the bean tops in a soup next week.
We grow all our brassicas under enviromesh - it really keeps the butterflies off and makes such a difference to the crop. It also protects the plants from the wind, which is never far away. We had fantastic success with this last year, and were picking good clean leaves well into the early Spring. The carrot seeds have just been sown, and they will be covered with mesh too - it really kept the carrot fly away last year. I found a picture here, of cabbage and carrots fresh from the garden at the end of January, and the last of the chard has just been dug up this week!
You may be noticing a lot of rylock fencing on the beds. This is another wonder material - it is the most effective way we have found of keeping the hens from making dustbaths in the newly planted seeds - and from eating my lettuces! It is much easier to do this than to try to keep them out of the plot - they have helped build up the fertility of the soil, and I like their company as I work
This time last year we still had pigs on this plot, so the garden is not even a year old yet. Still much work to do (just look at all those buttercups!) and lots to learn about what will do well (not convinced about French beans yet) - but what an absolute joy it is to be out there, hands in the good earth, gently moving a hoe around, or just sitting contemplating the scenery. Nothing better - well - unless...
It is pottering around in the new polytunnel!
It was worth the wait for this. I love it, and can happily spend hours in here, nice and warm and sheltered. I have planted 38 tomatoes -7 or 8 varieties, all grown from seed - not to mention half a dozen courgettes and several chilli and sweet peppers. It's all a bit of a work in progress - we were too late to put in raised beds this year, so had to resort to using grow bags, but oh - the plans I have! This will make such a difference - I will be able to produce more of our vegetables for a longer time. Hopefully I can manage the sowing and planting to minimise the hungry gap, and to give me enough surplus to put by. It is a fantastic spot to sit and dream, or drift around pinching out side shoots from the tomato cordons - enjoy a sly cup of tea, and generally hide. Watch this space!