Saturday, 31 March 2007


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..!