Sunday, 25 November 2007

Food from the Sea

We spent a very enjoyable evening gathering masses of seaweed for the Garden. With wild winds and rain further up-country, we were basking in some winter sunshine.

Gathering seaweed is one of our favorite activities, it's very satisfying to know there is a source of high quality compost only a mile or two away, plus it feels like a very natural, healthy thing to be doing!

Seaweed is an amazing resource, it's estimated there are 150 million tons deposited on British beaches every year. It contains most, if not all of the essential elements plants need. By elements I don't mean Nitrogen, Potassium, and Phosphorous. There are over 80 potentially useful elements that a plant can utilise. Different plants vary on their uptake of minerals, wheatgrass is considered to be the most efficient, picking up close to 90 elements.

Anyway getting back to seaweed, when you think about it all the fields, mountains, streams, rivers etc lead to the sea, Heavy rain washes tons of soil containing minerals into the sea every day. The sea is the richest place on earth, containing vast amounts of creatures and plants, all thriving on the mineral rich mixture that is seawater.


The seaweed growing in this water is a perfect accumulator of these minerals and so spreading it on the land is a great thing to do!
The area of land above Mounts bay where I grow used to be called "the Golden Mile" due to the tons of seaweed carried up by farmers over the years and deposited on the land. It's done the trick as my soil is rich and dark, like a chocolate cake teeming with worms!

So the first batch is going on my asparagus, they like the salt so i'm told, and will make a nice treat for the customers next season.



While I will write some more posts on minerals and their importance for our diet, here's a link to an Article I wrote for Permaculture Magazine, a great read I would recommend to anyone feeling a bit depressed about the current state of the world.

So I'm still gathering carpets for my new beds, there is a carpet warehouse nearby who throw out masses of big ole carpets, but even this isn't enough to cover the field quick enough.

A couple a times a week i drive to the field laden down with more carpets, and realise yet again that the project is 10 times bigger than the previous one, I've got an Acre to cover!!


There was a time over the summer where i swayed between digging with a cultivator and no-dig mulching. For comparisons sake i cultivated a large patch with the machine.

Well no comparison really, while the machine was quick the difference in quality convinced me to go for the slow version of bed making. It's like comparing a nice sandwich made with care to putting that sandwich into a blender!

I prefer my worms alive thanks very much...

Saturday, 27 October 2007

Ready for Winter

Today was my last Saturday delivery, 2 more boxes to go and that's it for this year. I'll publish a full appraisal of the year in another post, for now i'm winding up the season in many small ways.
One job that's finished is the bees. They've begun to head into hibernation and have eaten the honey out of the old combs, here's a picture of them with Mounts bay in the background:





And feasting on one of the last combs of honey...if you blow this image up you can even see them putting their "tongues" into the cells to get the honey, that's my gals!!




Their are a number of things to be doing, gathering carpets to put on the ground for new beds come the Spring, seaweed to put on those beds, build the second tunnel, get the heating working...lots and lots

but for now i can relax and begin to plan this while relaxing with some nice tea...

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Action

Last Sunday was our open/action day.
It was a chance for anyone who had not yet seen the site to get a feel for the place and see where their weekly box came from. People started arriving at 10 and the day just flew..It was supposed to end at 2 but people were still around until 3.

People seemed to be eager to work, something i hadn't really planned for so it ended up that some cleared hedges, tended the fire for tea and took it in turns to push the hand mower!

I was so busy talking to people that i forgot all about taking pictures so only have a few!
here's the last stragglers having a chat:







And Ben one of the customers, flying by with some woodchips for the heap-
cheers Ben!






It was a great day and felt really good to have so many people up on the land chatting and having a laugh.

Good news with the bees aswell. I've managed to try a slightly unorthodox combining method by placing the brood box(where the babies reside) onto the Top bar and putting newspaper between. the idea is that the bees take a day or 2 to eat their way through the paper by which time they have gotten used to the other hives scent.


it seems to have worked, there is a big hole in the paper and the previously angry bees semm to have calmed down. (not totally though so i'll keep me gloves on for the moment..)

that's all for now folks..........

Sunday, 16 September 2007

winter a comin

well yet again it's been a while since i've posted. I suppose i can blame it on the bees. Some sad news there. It seems that the hive we disturbed has lost it's queen, when i say lost i mean she's died or been killed by accident. some kind of disturbance could have caused it and you guess what the latest disturbance was..
yes me...
so i feel quite dumb at the moment realising what i've probably done.
Right now the bees have been queenless for about 2 weeks, they're listless, grumpy and feel like somethings missing..
so i'm doing my best to find a replacement queen before they die off. fingers crossed.

I've collected a small sample of honey from the other hive, it's delicious and keeps me upbeat about next season.


i'm making big plans for next year already, tunnel 2 is being built and carpets are being laid out everywhere i can put them so i can have loads of beds for next season.
With all the fine weather i've seen a surge in crops like tomatoes which are really filling the boxes now, i'm giving samples to everyone i know at the moment and they seem to be popular.
Pumpkins are really going well too.
This japanese pumpkin was only this big on the 16th August:


then only 8 days later:


so more to come soon. I'm off to ireland for a week and when i'm back will hold forth on such such subjects as ponds, refractomoters and geo-thermal energy!

Friday, 3 August 2007

Beeautiful bees

It's been a while since the last post, and this time i've got a good excuse..Stung by bees..what!
Yes, it's a long and somewhat shameful story..

It all started with us complaining about the height of the "national" beehive, it was too low, the frames were way too heavy, it tired you out...
So it's been in our minds for a while now to lift it up onto some extra concrete blocks one of these nights.

That night came around last sunday after playing a samba gig in penzance and availing myself of the free guinness..

It was all going well until we realised (by the light of the full moon)that we had neglected to lift up the bottom board on the hive, this resulted in hoardes of sleepy, confused bee flying on, around,and at us..

While lifitng the hive i had bravely muttered "even if we get stung we have to keep going" this was put to the test when roughly 7 bees were crushed by my drunken knees against the side of the hive..

A very sobering burning sensation soon began to make itself known there prompting me to leap in the air, and run for the car, leaving my poor girlfriend to fend for herself!!

To anyone watching it must have been a strange site indeed, a beekeeper in the light of the moon, flailing and swatting himself, running around a field, tearing his clothes off!

Well anyway, the swelling went dwon 3 days later, and so has my swollen head after realising that even though i've read all the books, my girlfriend is a lot calmer around the bees than i am..

So since then we have had a lovely visit with the "top-bar" hive, the bees are working away building their beautiful comb


If you enlarge this picture you should be able to see the different colours of pollen that they are bringing in.
Working in this hive is a dream, they never seem to get angry and we rarely use smoke. I just hope they have enough stores for winter.

I'll be writing an update on the plant world at badger's garden soon, including plans for expansion and the magical world of mushrooms (no, not that kind!)

Thursday, 19 July 2007

March of the caterpillar


During a routine clean up of the plants i found this highly coloured fellow, beautiful as he is it's not worth the risk of letting him stay to eat something valuable. Time to get an insect ID methinks.

We've been lucky the last few days, lots of sun and rain, perfect for the plants. My earlier depression over wet weather and blight on tomatoes et al seems to have lifted. Thanks to the dry weather and seaweed spraying the blight is slowly retreating, leaving me with healthy plants once again.

My boxes are getting bigger now the latest delivery on Wednesday the 18th included:
3 beetroots
2 round courgettes
1 sweet pepper
1 cucumber
some broad beans
1 lettuce
1 small bag of salads
1 very small bag of basil!
1 lb of spuds
beans and mange tout peas
1 radish
1 polen tomato

I'm finally approaching or just over the £10 mark and aim to be over £15 from august to october, onions, aubergines and peppers will be coming in like wild then. I'm still having trouble with slugs and have resorted to the sharp knife method....



Things like sweetcorn pictured here are doing great, this is "ashworth" and it seems to be doing well with the "3 sisters method" created by the native americans where they grow corn, beans and squash together, although my beans have all been eaten so it's more like the "2 sisters" (doesen't sound so good!...:-)

I've purchased a great little tool called a refractomoter which measures the sugars in sap/juice, this lets me know roughly how much minerals are in the plant and thus how nutritious it is. In my view this should be compulsory for all farmers especially organic ones. This way you can see partway through the season how your crop is doing and can take steps to correct deficiencies, too many "organic" crops are actually lower in nutrients than some of their conventional neighbours due to the soil they are grown in, more on this later.

So things are going well, growth is at full throttle, including the weeds so i'm off to remove some of them!

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

The Rainy Season

Well it seems that cornwall has a monsoon season i wasen't aware of!! "it's been 2 or 3 weeks now of constant, endless rain, the wettest june on record or so i hear.. This constant moisture has really impacted on the project. First theslugs are at epidemic proportions eating everything in sight.
The moisture in the air means it's perfect weather for blight to spread, all the potatoes have it as do the tomatoes(related species) I can only pray that the weather will shift.
It's a sign of the times I suppose, as our climate changes so must we. It makes me think more and more of planting trees and shrubs which are edible. Less hassle, more productive and the slugs won't eat them..(unless they evolve along with us!)
So yes things are gloomy and yes i'm gloomy as are the bees who can't get out to the flowers in this weather. They are a bit grumpy at the moment so i'm leaving them alone!
But ever since the swarm happened a few weeks ago the 2 colonies seem to be doing ok.
Here's a pic of the swarm in a hawthorn tree:


They are now rehoused in their new "top bar hive" this is a more natural hive design which gives the bees the freedom to build comb to the size and shape they require, itmeans less honey for me but more wax and more importantly happy bees.

here's a link to some info on natural beekeeping:
Bio bees
So i've decided to stick with only 5 boxes a week due to the slug presence in the area. Hopefully this will change in the coming weeks. I've got to start thinking of winter crops now, something i havent grown much of.
more soon..

Friday, 22 June 2007

Busy

Things are really taking off now, im expecting tomatoes any day now. The courgettes have finally got it together and are making progress so that i'm able to give each customer a decent box. The potatoes are beginning to flower and producing delicious creamy spuds for supper.
And great news...the bees swarmed!
More on this later and more posts later..I promise!

Friday, 8 June 2007

Slugeroos

You know I like to think of myself as a holisitic kind of guy..I've done a lot of research into minerals and pests and how they interact. There's an interesting theory by a frenchman called Francis chaboussou

He shows through hundreds of studies how it is the bio-chemical makeup of the plant which influences what and how many insect "pests" attack it.
And the thing is once you familiarise yourself with this theory you can see how they are not attacking it..
Take an aphid for instance, it likes a certain flavour in a plant. When nutrient levels are low/ plants are fed high dosees of nitrogen to speed growth, the plants sap tastes good to them and so they feed. If the plant has it's full quota of minerals (up to 80) then it doesent taste good to the aphid and they move on..

This theory works across the board, whether it's blight on potatoes, aphids on your aubergines..their job is to clean up the plants that aren't healthy:- "Nature's clean-up crews"!
It's only us humans who decree that this is friend or that one is foe...
Which brings me to slugs...

Where in god's name do they fit in!!

I can give my plants seaweed, rockdust, only the best most wide spectrum feeds i can give and they still keep coming, hordes of them, slithery slimy slugeroos....

Aghhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!

Only the other day i've had some of my beautiful orange courgettes massacred by them, literally overnight they ate about 6 of them.
I found the skeltal remains the next day, dripping in slime and past the point of return.


Revenge became an inevitable thing, the big water tanks soon became the extinction chambers, and soon their bodies were floating on the surface, belly up like the slug-titanic had just gone down.

This scheme has backired however, now everytime i dip my watering can into the water it becomes coated with slug slime and my arm along with it....

So the only resort i had(i think) is something called "Nemaslug" from the manufacturers website:

"Nemaslug uses the nematode Phasmarhabditis hermaphrodita, which was discovered by scientists at the government research institute at Bristol, England.

One application of Nemaslug provides 300,000 nematodes for every square metre of soil, giving at least six weeks control of slugs. This is generally enough time for seedlings and bedding plants to get well established."

so basically these nematodes lay eggs in the slugs, these hatch and eat the slugs from the inside out..all the slugs die...

Now in a perfect world i would have hedgehogs and frogs eating my slugs, but as i'm establishing the site and my income is depending on it, for now we shall have to use nemaslug..

Isn't there something in the bible about a day when there is harmony between all creatures- the lion laying down with the lamb, I wonder when the gardener will lay down with the slug? (the thought of it!!)

Saturday, 26 May 2007

stone the crows!

Well what can i say these pesky crows have eaten all of my grains! I was a bit lazy about it i suppose, thought they wouldn't notice when i was planting it. I must admit i felt a bit paranoid at the time , they seemed to be flying above me a lot, cawing back and forth to one another, letting each other know what was going on?
Anyway i set out my millet and wheat in seperate beds, and watered them..
sure enough over the next few days there were lots of scratch marks in the compost and not much seedling activity..
So what to do?

Well strings seemd to be the first option, didnt work so i tried tape, all those old cassettes that i was sure to use some day? well they were promptly disemboweled and strung around the place, while it hasent stopped their thieving it has slowed it down somewhat.
slugerooos next...

Thursday, 10 May 2007

Windy Weather

It's been a while since the last post, but then again so much has happened! Our first delivery went well with pete delivering to the more far-flung customers and yours truly bringing the boxes into penzance.

It was a small delivery, and i reassured the customers that this was only the beginning and as it was a CSA scheme they would be receiving way more than what they paid for onve we had reached june.july. Still it's hard getting people to take a chance on you, especially when it's their money.
"Why not just call it a box scheme!" I hear them think, well because it's not, and this seems to be a hard concept to get across in England(sorry Cornwall).
SO we have had some mad winds lately, the tunnel is really getting tested. I sat through the wildest wind yet yesterday, freaking out every time a big gust made the whole tunnel shake. It was like being at sea in a boat you're not sure is up to the task, creaks and moans, cracks and groans. But she survived and I intend to purchase some nice big straps to put over the top just in case...
The courgettes are coming along nicely:


They are a nice tasting variety from italy, and something a bit different for the customers..
Elsewhere in the tunnel there are the crimopson flowered broad beans, they are all in flower, attracting the bees, and the humans as they smell so good:


So as we begin to enter summer the garden is starting to fill out, there is still a lot to be done, but i'm quite pleased with how this is going.
More later.

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

If you want to do something with your life....

There's a song i heard at a permaculture convergence that goes like this:
If you want to do something useful with your life, go and plant some trees.

I was singing this song as we finsihed up another windy day at Badgers garden. When we were in Tontnes, Devon a few months ago We found loads of baby oaks under a big tree. We took them home and they have been in a sack of soil ever since..
So on Mayday eve we decided to just plant the lot..

turns out there were 67 of them, which will make quite a grove sometime in the future!
It always feels great to be planting trees, a kind of investment in the future, a statement about what kind of world I'd like to see, or maybe it's just planting trees!
No matter, it feels good and brings a sense of permanance to Badger's Garden.

The beautiful ash trees that were planted by folk on the action day are now coming into leaf, the flowers are blooming in the hedgerows, summer is being painted on the landscape.
Things are coming along in the polytunnel now aswell, peas are blooming and courgettes too, outside the drab brown of the potatoe beds is greening up fast with new growth and the small touches like flax seedlings pushing through the straw put out a feeling of exuberance, barely contained excitement..it's coming alive folks!
As I do less work in the day job and concentrate more and more on my passion for plants I find that the work i put into the garden is paid back 10 times in results, it's very satisfying, and what keeps me doing it.
People debate whether it's an art form, I would argue for this, except why would I bother arguing? The plants are my paint and the field a canvas, it's a co-creative act, between me and the land, and never fails to surprise me.

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Action day

So our second action day, we had a bit more luck with the weather this time, and got loads of work done. The day started with Rose and taking our first look at the bees. It was quite an experience I can tell ya! We had been to the previous owners house to see and learn from him how to examine the hive, it was nice to see him do it, however when it was just the 2 of us the tension began to mount!
here's a pic of me smoking the hive:

What looks from the outside like just a black box is revealed to be a vibrant city of creatures engaged in facinating, intricate work. Amazing! I could have watched them all day..But we had a jobn to do, so after checking for any disease or swarming we put all the covers on and left them alone for another week. It was such an amazing experience it's hard to write about the action day with as much enthusiasm!
Well what can I say, everywhere I looked something happening. Liz tackled the gateposts, while martin foucused on the tyres, pete took care of mulching the sweetcorn
while Amber and her kids helped fill beds with compost.

Merlin thought he would test how deep the hole was...
Rose was here there everywhere planting and loading compost and I got stuck into making a nice bed for the brocolli!
It felt great to have the site progress so much in a short period of time. Here was a week of me working on my own being done in a few hours. It really brought home to me the power of community, and what's possible with a few people and some good intentions
Thanks guys!

So the countdown is approaching to the first delivery on the 5th of May, i'm hoping there's enough for everyone, and yet in a way i'm not too worried as it is in a way a good lesson to learn about CSA, how the share reflects the garden: that there isn't much about at this time of year and so the boxes reflect this, june onwards will be packed with lots of produce, exceeding what the customer are paying, so i guess it all works out..
I just hope the customers see it that way!

Thursday, 19 April 2007

It's been a while..

Well hello stranger! Yeah it has been a while, lots of things happening all at once..As they do..
Lets see now, well one of the most exciting things has been the arrival of around 60,000 (haven't counted them all yet) BEES. We got them from a local man last Sunday and installed them in what i call the "fox corner" which is where i met a fox the first time i was in this field..
They are, pun intended, "busy as bees" zooming in and out of the hive, working away, making lots of honey. I've yet to look into the hive, and can't wait till i do this sunday!
With my mate steve bringing loads of fresh grass clippings to the site, the heap is now heating up to 50-60 degrees, too hot to put your hand inside!
the coil of pipe is almost full with water, i'll need some kind of crafty home-made valve to get rid of the air inside...

Plants are going in everywhere, early sweetcorn, flowers on the courgettes, herbs, pumpkins, and of course the massive bag of onions is still only about half empty, so much more of that to be planted..
Another action day is happening on the 22nd of April, so will have a longer post after that, thought i'd show you a picture of an interesting plant i 'm growing called a "Pepino", tastes a bit like a melon, so i'm told, ripens around december, so a great alternative to apples from china..


more to come..

Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Sweltering

wow it's hot! has been for days now. At first it was lovely, felt like we had fast forwarded to June
without any April showers. But the novelty is wearing off for me anyhow. Each day I wake up to a blue sky and find myself praying for rain. Am I turning into a farmer?
Not quite but I'm beginning to realise just how crucial the right weather at the right time is. Without rain, I have to cart gallons of water down to my plot and quench the thirst of my parched plants and sandy soil.
So i'm praying for rain, and clouds, and grey weather. Everything i've been wishing away. Are humans ever satisfied!?
Anyway, on to the progress, with a delivery of compost from the Green waste company I've managed to almost fill the tunnel with soil. Peas, Broad beans, salads and some corn are in, making a plastic tunnel into a planthouse. It's beautiful.

The compost is a dream, moist, dark and rich. I've sown 2 extra rows of onions, with space for some flax/quinoa in the middle, should look nice in the summer.(or is it already summer?)

The damson tree is in blooom, has a lovely scent, it's also a nice place to view the garden from.


So next steps are to activate the woodchip pile with grass clippings and lots of water, finish the big sweetcorn bed, doors on tunnel, gate for garden, ponds, and did I mention bees?

Saturday, 31 March 2007

Heating

So far the heap has remained cold, where i've put manure in the centre it's reached up to 47 degrees but everywhere else is stone cold.
Since researching more information and attending a waste conference last week i've realised i need more moisture, lots more. For the woodchips to begin their decomposition process they need moisture. To speed this up I also need more green material, things like grass clippings.
So what i've done is dug out the centre of the heap:

i'll gradually start to mix it with grass clippings and fresh manure, and soaking it as i go. Because the woodchips are from old doors etc it's very dry wood, so it needs loads of water.

Now that the tunnel is up i can concentrate on this, while also filling the tunnel with plants. It's just over a month until the first delivery and i'm getting worried that there won't be enough to give to everyone. The sooner i have a heated tunnel the better, as it will speed everything up..
at the end of the day though it's worth it, as i drive out of the field i can see this in the mirror ;-)

Tuesday, 27 March 2007

Majestic lady

At last at last she is complete! The tunnel has arisen, and what a journey it has beem. From a few hoops to the final nail it;s really been a learning experience for me.
It was a lovely day today, really warm, so the decision was made to bring out the plastic:

Once it was warmed up we unrolled it, man it was massive! Talk about daunting.. We got it unfurled and sprang into action..

That's me fighting with the plastic, the wind decided to come up at that point..

and here starting to get stressed out..
Working out a way to get as much tension on the plastic as possible, this way seemed to be the best for back muscles!

After much work our majestic lady was revealed..:

As the sun went down we were just about finished...7 hours later...


darkness fell as we were finishing, just in time for a last photo..

exausted, but tomorrow is another day, lots to do, lots to grow..
Thank you Rose for helping me and putting up with me in my mad stress mode!

A magical Day

WEll i'm going to make up for not posting in a while. Lots has been happening, an action day last sunday with great work done by some friends. The fence was dug in, woodchips were ferried about, a beautiful tree was planted:

and we tried making our first rocket stove!
After a few failed attempts the kettle began to whistle and it was tea time..


A grand productive day despite the rain, thanks to everyone who helped out, Steve, Liz, Paul, WindRose, Rob and Ruby , Steph and her mother and 2 children making it into a real family outing!,lots of work was done and i really appreciate it..Thanks

Friday, 16 March 2007

A day in the trenches

Well time marches on and we wait ever more impatiently for a hot and still day to put on the skin for the polytunnel. The final trenches are dug, Rose gave a hand on the finishing touches:

I've decided to put in some big airvents to keep my tomatoes nice and blight free this season, i'm hoping the tunnel will be quite warm with the woodchips heating it up. It's been climbing steadily after a shaky start. It wasen't doing anything until i stuck a few bags of fresh horse manure into the centre, now it's reading 47 degrees!

The beds are slowly coming on aswell with the thousands of onions hankering to get in and start growing. I'm of 2 minds whether to stick a complete no-dig system and use what i have or else cart in tons of compost from a company 4 miles away...decisions decisions..

This area covered in straw is to be the bean tunnel. As you come into the garden there will be a huge arch with beans, nasturtiums and god knows what else clambering up it. It should be a nice entrance to the garden with lots of colour and scent surrounding you.


I know i havent published in a while, but that will change as i make the move to this being my full income and the weather warms up. We have an action day planned for the 25th of march and after that it's all about getting ready for the first delivery on the 5th of May. Getting nervouse..
It's always a difficult thing to plan ahead so you have enough for everyone. With 10 people planned for this season it's been quite a rush..

Saturday, 3 March 2007

Strange fruits

As part of this project, i'll be introducing weird and wonderful fruit and veg which will be available throughout the year at Lowarth Brogh.

First on the list is one of my favourites: It's called "Melothrie" or "mouse melon" or "mexican Gherkin" for all you latin folks: "Melothria pendula"


It's a great plant I grew last year, it forms an amazing web-like vine with literally hundreds of these small gherkins hanging from it.
They look exactly like minature watermelons! The taste is something like a cucumber but much milder, they crunch in your mouth and are great in salads.

They are extremely proloific and can be pickled at the end of the year to be eaten at your leisure on those cold winter evenings.

Definately something to try this year, it will be interesting to see how the customers like it. It caused quite a stir at the health food shop..!

Monday, 26 February 2007

Comparisons

Over the season I'll be keeping you updated about how my site compares with my neighbours, highly mechanised, "conventional" farm. I've nothing against his field, it's just the closest example of industrial agriculture.
As I said before, the turning circle for the gleaming beasts(giant tractors) is a wee bit smaller than my entire plot.
The cauliflowers are gone and it's time for potatoes. The obligatory plastic (to heat up the soil) has been stretched out using special equipment. Neat rows march across the landscape.


As you can see here:


It's a big area of heavily compacted earth, nothing will grow here for months. So far this year there has been Cauliflower, then potatoes. If he's lucky he will get one more crop in this year, bringing the total to 3. THink about all the gaps here. Even if each crop can produce for 2 months, that's still only 6 months a year of produce. Compare that with an established garden and polytunnel. we eat fresh kiwis every morning. we've been eating them since December and will continue to until April.

Imagine this field(about 20 Acres) Covered in fruit trees and the odd polytunnel, there would be food available all year round, minimum wastage and a massive increase in Biodiversity. Instead of a cold empty field you would hear birdsong, see spring emerge into the landscape..

I'll keep harping on about this for some time yet, so have a good think about it!

Back to the project and things are coming along, the next warm day we get that skin is going up on the tunnel, here's an overhead shot taken from a precarious position on top of a trailer:


The first woodchips have been put on top of the heating pipes:


All I need to do is add lots and lots of water to start the process and tropical conditions should follow..(frantically crossing fingers and toes)

I met 2 new visitors by the potato bed today: Pesky magpies, guzzling down some choice "romano" spuds! They soon got the boot, but it's left me wondering how to prevent riff raff like these from feasting on the produce...