Saturday 21 November 2015

Cold Snap

After a lovely long warm Autumn the cold weather has arrived. The wind is very chill but my wood fired range is lit and I seem to be making endless cups of herbal tea. The Geese have grown at an incredible rate, Gloria at the back has developed Angel wing, which is a deformity of the last joint of her wings making them stand out sideways but it doesn't seem to bother her.
I am thrilled with the polytunnel. I have the best cauliflowers I have ever grown, they are huge, the broccoli is thriving and I am still picking aubergines, peppers, chillies and tomatoes. I have been curing over a dozen large butternut squashes in there before winter storage.
The tyre towers around the patio are also brilliant, they give a good depth of soil, something which is missing here as the soil is thin with a stony layer a couple of inches below the surface. It is going to take me a lifetime to build the soil up a reasonable depth in the main vegetable patch.

The mandarin tree in the polytunnel is in full bloom, smelling heavenly and even in this cold weather a hardy bumblebee is working hard. Sorry about the poor picture, Action shots are not my forte.
 It is brilliant to see the progress being made in the garden. Trees we planted three or four years ago are starting to fruit and no longer look like sticks. The range of trees and shrubs increase year on year as we order once a year from Martin Crawford at the Agroforestry Research Trust. Another 20 bare rooted trees are due to be delivered next month including some interesting nut varieties (don't tell the squirrels). Finally Tim took a quick trip out here a week ago to celebrate my birthday with me and we planted out a pot grown Seville orange and two Siberian pea trees into the chicken run. The Siberian peas provide chicken fodder which they harvest themselves and fix nitrogen into the soil. All of them grown by me from seed. Small triumphs such as these are moments to savour and more than make up for the many smallholding disasters along the way.


  1. Lovely! We fired up the cookstove this weekend too. Did you design the tunnel yourselves, or was it a kit?

  2. I had it built and erected by a local man who is a welder and does it professionally. It is more expensive than the kits but it is very robust and should last for years. Now it is up all we need to do is replace the polythene every 5 to 6 years. Around 600 euros for a 6m x 4m tunnel with two doors and £200 for putting it up.

  3. Your veg is looking great, you must be very pleased with it all. Angel wing can be helped by vitamin D and E plus manganese, if she is young enough you can also use the leg of tights as a body stocking to help it go back into place.