I realise I haven’t posted here in a few weeks – life is pretty busy at the moment, and the patch is definitely a big part of that! Suffice to say that I have pretty much sown I am going to sow – the last sucessional broadbeans, snap peas, peas, dwarf french beans and carrots have gone in. I have also sown butternut squash (F1 Cobnut) and more corgettes.
The labour of love this past 3 weeks has most definitely been ‘dealing with things not wanted in the patch’.
The first being WEEDS – so many they deserve capitals. If I had twinkly lights I’d drape those over the word as well. The very first sowings we made way back were competing with the weed seeds already in the ground, and of coursem we couldn’t weed around our seeds until they showed themselves, so May was a good time to lay into the neat weed carpet around our pickling onions, spring onions, carrots and main crop potatoes. I kid you not we have filled at least two compost daleks with weeds, with the later stuff alreday in flower going straight in the brown bin – I’m not composting potential seeds to put back in the ground! My least favourite weed, as you may already know, is twitch, but we have none of that in the beds we’re using. We do however have heaps of chickweed – fun stuff to pull out if you get it right, groundsel, shepherd’s purse and my favourite – wild pansies. They are gorgeous little things but I console myself that for each one I pull out there are hundres more to replace it in the grazed parts of the field. There are others I don’t recognise yet – anything I don’t know gets brown binned in case!
The chickweed in the grazed area is being dealt with by sheep – both local farmers reckon it’s the best way to deal with it without resorting to chemicals, so I bow to their combined 150 years of wisdom. The chickweed around the veggie patch is being mown short regularly – I’ve heard regular short mowing is best for it, but we’ll see – I’m not so sure. Many a time I’ve gone out to mow, and end up crawling around the place, tearing chickweed out as the red mist decends.
The next pest are the flying types…wood pidgeons and a resident pheasant accompanied by his 3-strong hareem has managed to devoid farmer John and Gary next door of their beetroot. Luckliy we’re at the end, so our beetroot has been nibbled, in places to within an inch of its life, but it has survive d and now lives under a cosy net tunnel. Sweet, beetrooty, dreams. They have also had a bit of a bash at the peas and cabbages, but my old cover CD collection is now happily flapping in the breeze, tied to old willow sticks I have left from last year. It seems to be working.
Slugs are making a pathetic attempt to nibble the snap peas, but they’re large enough now to shrug it off I think, and black fly are starting in the broad beans. I need to figure out what to do here – last year I used ecover washing up liquid mixed with water on some veg with green and white fly, but it seemed to burn the plants more than rid them of crawly nasties.
The last unwanteds are the walking lawn mowers I’ve borrowed from a local farmer – the escapologist lambs who’ve decided that not only is the grass greener in the vegetable quarter, but so is practically everything else, and have managed to nibble practically everything at least once to try it out. Let it not be said they’re not adventurous beasties.
I’ll pop some pictures of how it’s all looking these days – much different and half-decent if I do say so myself!