So it's clearly been a while since I last posted; the joys of renting led us to move house again, and time was taken up with trawling the internet, viewing other houses to rent, and the subsequent move
The seasons are a'changing...
It is June already, yet summer is far from showing its face. Being new to the world of gardening I have been getting used to being exposed to the elements; As you can see above there have been morning frosts that froze my coffee cup, and a lot of rain that I had to wade through - often whilst trying to push a wheelbarrow. I have been getting a serious arm and leg workout!
Despite the weather, I am still loving working outdoors, there is something to be said about being amongst nature and working with it.
In a world where we are so often hooked up to computers and TV, sat in cars and sat on the couch, I am glad to instead be connected to the outdoors - it really is good for the soul and is quite literally grounding.
The changes of season have come with their own noticeable subtleties week by week, and I have slowly seen the lush greens of summer give way to oranges and red of autumn, fade into muddy browns and bare branches, back to the slow splashes of green popping up around the garden again. Plants and herbs that were forgotten about in winter have come back to say hello which has been a joy to see.
I strongly advise everyone to get outside and go play in some mud! Find some wide open spaces, walk in the woods, breathe in the air and listen to the birds. It's free, so there's no excuse not to...
Introducing Mr and mrs crow!
Mr and Mrs Crow seem to live in the 2 big trees that edge the garden. They make an awful racket, and often swoop down to strut about, have a bath in the rain filled trenches that line the herb beds, and eat worms.
I am trying to befriend them - and they have become more used to sharing the garden with me. Sometimes I can get quite close and have a chat with them which really adds to my working day!
Calendula is our main harvested herb, which I previously had blogged about back in Feburary. After rotavating the rows, we left them for a short while in order to concentrate on other areas of the site.
We returned to mulch and wood chip the paths we walk on between the rows. This involved the wood chip mountain you see pictured above! With pitchforks and wheelbarrows we got through it.
In each row we first put cardboard down (recycled from the Neal's Yard warehouse) to help supress weeds and which would eventually break down. On top of that we added the wood chip. Admittedly it did get rather monotonus, but it will be worth it in the end if it means less time weeding - (which on an organic site is all done by hand).
We had planned to then sow seeds from last year but it seems we didn't need to. Rotavating the soil brought dropped seeds to the surface and the entire area self seeded, the rows were filled with little seedlings that quickly grew and were taking over.
The next phase was to thin the rows, and put the plants into 2 lines per row. This involved the high-tech method of 2 wooden stakes connected with rope which we stretched from one end to the other. As the ground is clay and rock hard, the stakes had to be driven in by sledgehammer. I tend to be a bit wonky, so Fraser would often have to redo my lines!
We spent the best part of a fortnight on kneelers digging out the stray plants and putting them into nice neat rows - all painstakingly (on my poor knees!) done by hand.
Fraser thankfully bought his portable speakers so we were able listen to music which definately seemed to make our workload easier. Although sometimes, whilst stretching out my legs I would have a little boogie much to his annoyance!
Now all the rows are done, and we had our first harvest of the year last week, picking around 5kgs. The Calendula have certainly been time consuming - needing attention all year round. I am glad to have been able to see their cycle through the seasons, as I have now been in this job for a whole year - I think I have weathered the storm, and can confidently call myself a gardener (of sorts) now!
Emma is passionate about promoting good health, and likes to keep things simple. She enjoys yoga, meditation & being outdoors, yet likes to indulge in coffee, wine & cake - Everything in moderation!