Tuesday 23rd February 2016

It feels like a turning point.
We might have frosty nights, but the drying ground, bright blue skies and the green hawthorn haze around the field persuasively suggest that Spring might just be springing.

There are opening leaf buds on the gooseberries, and the overwinter onions and garlic are looking perkier. There is definitely growth in the air – and in the ground.

It is an eminently sociable Tuesday this week – six of us at times – so plenty of person power to get on with cleaning up the vegetable beds in anticipation.

First though, a bit of tidying up. We felled an awkward ash tree earlier in the week. Today we sned that and pile the brash on the dead hedge which has sunk somewhat already (since January). Now just the trunk to cross-cut into firewood lengths to split later. But we don’t want a noisy chainsaw spoiling today. The trunk can wait.

Then we concentrate on the coming season’s roots bed. The green manure field beans have been cut down for a while now and dried off. We want to leave their roots- nitrogen fixing nodules and all- in the ground, so it’s a case of spot weeding the docks,nettles and occasional buttercup with a hand fork. The willowherb rosettes and hairy bittercress come out too – there’s plenty more around to forage for salads. Then hoe and rake ready for the sprouted parsnip seeds and some early radish soon.
There’s something very inviting about a clean vegetable plot. It’s tempting to get seeds in early. But the soil temperature is still only 2 degrees C, so patience!

We don’t want to denude all areas too soon – but neither can we afford to leave it all to be done at once… So we move on to the bean bed and lift the last parsnips and a few overlooked carrots (note: grow more parsnips next year!).
Six compost trenches were prepared for Czar runner beans months ago – just a couple of rogue docks to weed out there. And mindful to leave the marker sticks in place! The rest of the bed will be dug over for the other drying beans. This is the sunniest bed, so high hopes for a long drying season.

A bit of a setback in the greenhouse. Mice have chewed through the plastic netting, dug up and munched the broad beans we sowed a few weeks ago. They have discarded the healthy shoots and eaten the beans. We are in the market for some mouse-proof steel mesh to keep them out of the next sowing.
Sometimes it’s hard being wildlife-friendly.

In good company, in good weather, a day’s work can pass very quickly in the garden.
It just has.
But what a lot we have got done!

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@hotmail.com


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