Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Where Ma Kiwis gone?

So we are busy clearing the land to put it back to fields but we still have one tunnel standing. I've been watching our kiwi vine recently and having a feeling that something wasent right. Turns out the kiwis have been slowly disappearing over the last few weeks, just slow enough that I didn't notice right away.
So who or what was the culprit?
well turns out the rat had acquired a sweet tooth after eating a fair few of our grapes this season and had been slowly taking away our kiwis off the vine and storing them in this convenient tyre just outside the tunnel!

I've never seen rat activity like this which may mean there is a hard winter coming or just that they are getting used to us and the tunnel and are getting more cheeky, who knows?

We probably lost half our crop to them this year which is probably 2 kgs, a real pity as they are very nice kiwis, I don't really want to eat those ones after mr. Rat has had them ;-)

Wednesday, 5 September 2012


Well it's been a very busy year, not a very productive one, but busy all the same. I'm sure i'm not alone as a grower in questioning my vocation this year as it seemed that plants which enjoyed this weather were few and far between.
With the stress of doing our visa application, battling the weather and packing at the same time i'm really looking forward to winter, and also sad to be leaving this beautiful patch of land. It's been a long journey and I find myself stopping now and then in my work just to reflect and imprint this beautiful, rough landscape in my mind.
The new additions to the pony cultivator have worked really well: the discs being the main thing. These have enabled us to form lovely ridges crossways and lengthways in the fields to both drain and retain water as needed. They have been useful for growing root crops too and i think it's something we will continue in the States.
More to come, hopefully more regularly before we go. Only 3 months now!

Sunday, 6 May 2012

spike harrow

We seem to be coming to an understanding with Maude who is 15 years old and quite a  strong willed pony ;-),  which means we are starting to get some work done.
We are using the spike harrow to pull out any clumps of grass and to break up the soil into a nice seedbed. It takes time to get Maude into condition so we will only be doing a half hour or so a day to get her used to it.
More to follow..

Friday, 4 May 2012

Let them eat Rocket

Wow posts are getting farther and farther apart, but anyway wanted to talk a little about one of my favourite food plants, wild Rocket. I don't have a picture to hand but most people will know this jagged leaved spicy salad. We grow a lot of this in the tunnels and out in the field. Don't like to use the word too much but as a "permaculture" plant it's very useful.
Being perennial we can just let it grow each year and harvest throughout the season. It stays in permanent beds which just need a bit of weeding and mulching now and then. It's also a great mainstay to sell to restaurants while the other crops come on later in the season. I'm estimating that we will be selling over 10 kilos a week come july so it's earning it's nickname of "green gold"

Perennial plants are a real bonus for a market garden and the challenge is getting past the hype to see what a good yielding and tasty commercial crop is. A lot of promoted crops tend to be bitter or mealy, and don't quite live up to the descriptions people give to them.  We are constantly looking for more low maintenance crops that taste good, sell well and grow well together. Wild Rocket, asparagus, globe artichokes all seem to do well for us.

More posts to follow, progress is being made with our pony powerhouses and new ridging implement

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Last Season

Well folks I'd been holding out in case it would be different but it looks lie there won't be anyone to carry on the project when we are gone. The owners of the land have indicated they would not be willing to sell the land after all, and so this will be our last season.

So we've had some good years here and it will be sad to put it all back to fields, it's been a lovely experience building up the orchard and seeing the first fruit come. Just in the last year we've had a proper crop of kiwis, 50kg+ of grapes, blackcurrants, strawberries, gooseberries, myrtus ugni, apples, cherries, jostaberries and of course all of the delicious vegetables and herbs.

I've watched our local barn owl sweeping across the fields on an evening,  scythed grass on a summers morning. Grown to know that pigs are a great animal to have on the farm ;-) and working with pasture is a real art form.

Someone said " Tractors were invented for people who are afraid of horses" So this year we have sold the tractor and are working with true horsepower! I'm going to be a bit more consistent with entries and especially photographs this last season so i can really get a taste of this last year. We aim to take everything down by October so while being a short one, ther season is shaping up to be a good one.

America is on the horizon and i'd like to thank any and everyone who's read my blog, it's been a great journey and I will miss it. But the journey continues in America and like my great grand uncles I will be sailing the cunard line to come into the New world via New York.

Springs here lets get working!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Heading into Spring

Well Ebony and the baby pigs have headed off to a new home at Bosavern Community Farm
We will be sad to see them go and will prbobably visit them a lot, however its good to know they will be going to a good home. So its just Butch the Boar and Barney left up here and they will also be leaving us in March, I hope to make good use of them while they are here to graze down grass, root up dandelions and any old potatoes or carrots left in the ground.

Speaking of Spuds, the weather is that mild that we will try a planting of "Setanta" today to see if we can get an early crop in..

More to follow with some pics of the new tunnels going up and our restored but not yet painted pony cultivator ;-)