Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Planning for food

Last week we created tee pees to create growing areas for climbing plants, beans, cucumber, marrows and sweet peas. The starting point is very much to find what is available in the surrounding garden that may lend itself to be reused in a different way.;making something new out of something old and giving it a second lease of life. Whilst creating the raised beds, we reluctantly had to cut down an aged clematis that had got out of hand but this year, the dead stems provided just the right material to weave into the tee pee structure.

Creating a small forest garden has meant investing in some plants, shrubs and trees and most of that work has been going on over the last few months. As the growing season gets seriously under way, I seem to be in the garden every day, checking on the seedlings, plants and herbs to see what is available, where there are gaps and if anything is in competition with the garden.

Today has been a day of transplanting cucumber and courgette seedlings into larger pots, harvesting some herbs for tonight's omelet, shoring up the potato plants, and marvelling at the peony blooms, planting gladioli bulbs. Awaiting in the wings are sweetcorn and small seedlings of the heritage bean varieties; lazy housewife, bi colour and trail of tears. I am switching to heritage seeds in an effort to grow our own and collect the seeds at the end of the growing season. This will mean less dependency on hybrid seeds and some experimentation will go on with regards to yield and suitability in the garden.

The purple sprouting broccoli plants, phase one, are setting seed which has prompted me to sow next years crop. Its a busy time, the strawberry plants are showing flowers and gooseberry clusters, raspberries, cherries, apples and pears are forming on the trees. Amazing what variety a small space can provide.

Evenings are still chilly and are spent spinning a yarn from Devon Alpaca and merino whilst knitting a nice shawl to cover shoulders later in the year. A woman of a certain age must have a shawl! I am planning to spin and knit sufficient yarn to make 6 pairs of socks, 1 sweater, 1 shawl and a couple of hats and gloves. The garden will also provide some plants that will help me dye the yarn. A lambs fleece of texel/dorset has been promised by the end of May.

Some painting is going on. We make it a priority to engage local craftsmen so the windows have been made by a local carpenter and fitted with double glazing. The window replacement program is ongoing and very much depends on funds. The priority windows were the ones that had rotted and were unable to open as well as the ones that, when closed, had the ability to make the curtains blow into the room, all indications of draughts. Maybe next winter we will be warmer!

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