Tuesday, 25 February 2014


It's the last days of February and it's starting to feel like spring is in the air. We've been sowing seeds over the past few weeks and many have already germinated. I am still not convinced that the cold weather has completely passed and so as a percussion we're sowing most of the seeds in pots in the greenhouse, we have planted onions (from seed), kale, cos lettuce, tomatoes, chillies, chicory and chard. We had also planted some chard and cabbage back in November in the ground in the greenhouse, and we have now started harvesting those. We also bought a very nice looking thyme plant and have taken several cuttings and all but one have taken root and putting on new growth. This is a really good way of getting your moneys' worth. Perennial herbs like rosemary and thyme are a great addition to the vegetable garden. There are great for adding flavour to food but they also attract beneficial insects to the garden helping with pest control and they also look and smell amazing.  
Lemon thyme and cuttings 
Seedlings (Onions and kales germinated)
Purple sprouting broccoli
We've started planning what we are going to be planting in our small home garden. It's going to be mostly tender, fast growing crops like salad leaves, radishes, and cucumbers. We'll also be growing beetroot, kale, spring onions, tomatoes and carrots. Most of these will be planted once we're confident the last frost has passed. But it's been full steam ahead down at the allotment. Having this additional space is amazing. We've completely reshaped this space and it now looks like the business. We've got peas, broad beans, garlic and purple sprouting broccoli already growing and both early and main crop potatoes are chitting and will be planted in the next two weeks. I've also been attempting to stagger the seed sowing in order to avoid harvesting all at once and become overwhelmed with produce. We've got quite alot of space dedicated to growing food this season and we're hoping to grow enough food to last us the whole year. The main crops we'll be growing at the allotment would be potatoes, peas and beans, and pumpkins,  crops that store well. We'll also be growing garlic, chard, tomatoes, and anything else we have space for. All in all we'll be growing as much as we can for as long as we can. We've also created a beautiful pond and contemplating growing watercress.
Multifunctional structure
One of the problems we encountered when we first got the allotment was leaky mains taps. We found out that last season there were leaks all along the mains pipping feeding the allotment and because of this allotment holders were served with a huge water bill. The lines were cut off and now the site has no water. This is a problem, but in Permaculture we are thought that problems are opportunities to be creative. We set about working out how to create a water supply on site. We decided to catch and use rainwater. It's abundant and free. We built a structure using mostly wooden pallets and built a roof using estate agents' for sale signs. The resulting structure severs multiple functions. It's a composting bin, a dry seating area, and rainwater harvesting system.
So it feels like spring is very nearly here. The sun has been out in force over the last week and lots of blossoms and buds have shown up. Fingers cross this season will be a good one for the small scale polyculture growers.

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