Tuesday July 21st 2015

It starts with weeding – there’s plenty of it. Hunting parsnips in a thicket of fat hen and got-away docks that need a tweak with a big fork to get them out. But we find the couple of rows of what was meant to be there.

The remaining parsnips
The remaining parsnips

Meanwhile, there’s also weeding in the brassica cage. We planted out the earlier cabbages and greens, then undersowed with clover/vetch. It’s done a great job of keeping the soil covered and moist – and hopefully fixing nitrogen (from the size of the leaves on the brussels sprouts, you’d think so!). But weeding out the docks from the established clover is precision surgery. To plant the later cabbage/kale/broccoli plants means chopping down the clover to find the soil. And the lush damp conditions have invited in this year’s slugs. There are nowhere near so many as last year – but they weigh a lot more! I’ve never seen such monsters as are munching the Derby Day cabbages and calabrese. Some are like baby walruses. In the evening I pick off over a hundred – half a bucketful – to add to the experimental home-made nemaslug potion. It seemed to work last year …
Last week we sowed some more carrots and beetroot. This week they are up! The early season sown carrots were very patchy. Slugs? Rabbits? The cold weather? Now the new tiny seedlings are bristling thickly. Time though for a cover of enviromesh to ward off the rabbits, birds and carrot fly. As for slugs – let’s hope the home-made potion works.

Leeks the kids planted
Leeks the kids planted

It’s the school holidays now, so we have three totally unreliable young helpers – it’s great fun! They are really only here for the biscuits, but the deal is to work for them. So we find a relatively child-friendly task on another spare patch … rake it smooth, then have a heavy adult dib holes in the dry soil and the kids take turns (or else they argue – well they do anyway) to trim and drop in the leeks and fill the holes with water from the watering can. It works. They are engaged. For an hour or so at least. Then we share biscuits.

The perennial veg. Patch is at a bit of a standstill at the moment, but we are providing some plants for the permaculture show garden at the Shrewsbury Flower Show in August. It’s a relaxed sit-down task to pot up some of the plants for that. And we also start sowing Winter salads in trays to plant out later in the Summer. We are still comparing relative success rates for direct sowing versus greenhouse-raising/ planting out. Early season it pays big dividends to start in the shelter of the greenhouse. Late season, we will see …

It amazes me, every single week, how much a gang of us achieve – even with children!

It’s all looking very good.

Tuesdays in the Triangle Field (Community Supported Market Garden) are busy, sociable, friendly, relaxed, productive. Volunteers are made welcome, fed, watered and rewarded with produce. Let us know if you would like to join us either regularly, occasionally or just for a one-off pleasure.

Tel. 01743 761418 email: crabapplecom [at] hotmail.com 

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