And so it begins! So far this year has been great – not too much rain (after the very wet winter), and enough warmth on the back to make outside work pleasurable.
We’re getting into a great rhythm with the planting, despite last year being an odd one where so much extra was added to the workload and planting list. This year, with three less mouths to feed here at Merrybower, we’ve covered two growing strips to let them recuperate. The plots we knew we’d use, we add the waste from the poultry houses as a mulch for over winter. The worms and weather do their bit and we just then turn it over to create the tilth we need to plant in. You can see the first and second early potato rows quite obviously here – we popped in Accord as the first early variety, and Carlingford and International Kidney as the second earlies.
The onion patch is only identifiable by the clod hopper holes where I’ve tried to walk between the invisible rows of buried onion sets, and the scattered skins of onion and garlic sets. This year it’s enough Red Sun shallots for pickling, then the reliable Karmen red onions for salads and Sturon BC 20 for over winter use. Solent White garlic has always grown well here, even when, as now, it’s planted quite late. We can only hope for a decent growing season. At some point we’ll be adding Musselburgh leeks to this plot too, though I haven’t left much room!
And then the raised bed. We usually put this over to salad crops – lettuce, radish, spinach, rocket and a few carrots. But we’ve realised that we get through an awful lot of carrots, so this is pretty much carrot paradise – full of Resistafly F1. Whilst I prefer the old varieties of veg, we do suffer badly here from carrot fly, to the point we’re not growing at ground level and we’re using resistant hybrids. Carrot fly don’t like to fly higher than 60cm (2ft), so a raised bed is ideal for them. the covering is to stop the spugs from dust bathing in the newly sown seed 😀 We have two new smaller raised beds nearer the house that we’ve sown pick and come again salad leaves. They were actually old pallet collars we used to store a top soil/compost mix in last year, and repurposed for growing veg.