I have made it here again #six-on-saturday It is Easter weekend which for me means a long weekend break from work which I am very grateful for. Unfortunately the weather is a little mixed at the moment, although today has turned out drier than I had expected but has ended up feeling like a wasted day which I will explain in my six.
1. Yesterday we made some progress on replacing the raised beds you can see on my homepage picture with long, low raised beds which will be of the ‘no-dig’ type. Unfortunately to create the beds from what was there before takes a lot of shifting of soil and compost and yesterday evening I ached in many places. However much of the work is done. In the following picture you can see on the left the raised beds as they were about 6 weeks ago with the osb deteriorating badly and then on the right G. resting and the beds although not complete about 75% there. They need tidying up, covering with mulch of compost and then finishing the paths, fortunately the ground is pretty clean as the raised beds had been well weeded over the last few years so only annual weeds to cope with.
Hopefully with some help from my brother we will finish this off tomorrow.
2. My day today should have been sowing more seeds. I sorted the seeds ready to be planted, a mix of peppers, tomatilloes and one tomato variety all to go in the heated propagator, beetroot and leeks, peas into root runners and various others. My plans were thwarted however by the arrival of the “Maria Thun Biodynamic Calendar 2018”. I had heard of bio-dynamic gardening before but have never practised it, but my interest was peaked after speaking to my plot neighbour on the subject as he had heard of other gardeners who use it to great success. I had also seen some discussion about it on a Facebook group I follow. I ordered the book and it arrived just as I was about to start sowing my seeds, my big mistake was to open it and start reading it straight away.
The problem is, it seems that Good Friday and Easter Saturday are not good days for any seed sowing at all! While I am new to this and rather sceptical about whether this is true or not I just simply couldn’t carry out my carefully laid plans ‘just in case’. I figure waiting a day before sowing root veg and then waiting until various times during the next week when flower, fruit and leaf days are coming will do no harm and in fact if it works all the better. Of course the question you may ask is would it have made any difference if I had sown the seeds I had planned to, well we will never know.
3. Tomorrow is a good bd day for planting potatoes and it looks like the weather will be kind as well, so in will go my first earlies crop. I plan an experiment this year. I will be growing the usual mix of early, second and main crop potatoes, as mentioned in another post I have gone all out on blight resistant varieties. The experiment will be to grow them using different ‘no-dig’ methods. One bed will have black polythene with cuts in it for the potatoes to grow through, one bed will have cardboard around each potato stem and one bed will have small hills of compost from which the potatoes will grow. With each of these methods I am going to compare harvest, weeds, whether they are affected by eel worm or slugs and also with the second and main crops how they cope with blight. It will be an interesting exercise and for me I have no vested interest in any one being better than another so fingers crossed for a good harvest from all 3. Btw all beds were already covered in a nice thick layer of compost about 6+ weeks ago so a good growing environement for them to grow in (will chart the progress in more detail in blog post).
4. One of the seeds I would have planted today had I not been bio-dynamically constrained or restrained or tripped up (select whichever works best for you) is a luffa. I read with interest a discussion on this plant on the FB group I follow and just had to give it a try. It is a fruit so can be sown later next week according to the b-d calendar. The following 2 photos I have captured from wikipedia and Chiltern Seeds website where I bought the seeds from (hope they don’t mind). The top photo shows a loofah after it has been dried out and ready for bathroom use, the bottom what they look like growing on the plant. Worth a try just for interest sake 😊
5. Hablitza Tamnoides – a perennial leaf which can be used in place of spinach. I bought the seeds for these from Incredible Vegetables a few months ago and following the advice on their website put them in the fridge for 10 days (or was it 7 – I forget) and sowed them early in March. I have had terrific germination from them and they have grown strongly, yesterday I pricked them out, and, if I am honest (and after sending 6 small plants to my sister) have far more than I need. Am now hoping that someone else at the allotment will be interested in them as I don’t think I will need more than 6 plants judging by how tall the plants might grow shown on Incredible Veg site.
6. There has been a lot of discussion just recently on use of plastic pots and using alternatives. This is fine, and I am trying out coconut coir, reformed recycled paper and newspaper pots myself however you can’t throw away the plastic pots you already have as that would just be daft, there is only an advantage when you might have replaced old pots. My concern here is however – what do we do about the plastic trays that we use to hold, water and move a number of small plants around in? These are a strong plastic which I guess will last a long time but what will happen when these break, what do we replace them with? Am rather hoping someone comes up with a low impact recyclable alternative pretty soon. Who would have though 20 years ago how much of a problem plastic was going to turn out to be. Possibly a ‘class-action’ on behalf of the world against oil and plastic manufacturers might be in the offing.
Well that finished on a low point didn’t it, sorry about that. Hope my six is of interest, no fancy diamonds or pazazz this week though. Thanks for reading.