Wednesday, 26 May 2010

My Little Bit of Eden!

Well, maybe not quite but when Kevin and I were up there last evening, it occurred to me that what I love most about this project is the tranquility and the sense of calm I get whenever I am there. Yesterday the horses were in the field, the chestnuts in full flower, and our crops growing marvelously well. Add to that the stillness and peace, and I was one incredibly chilled and happy woman!

On Sunday we were up there for four hours in the baking sun, which didn't please Kevin one bit - unlike me, he doesn't do well in the heat. Still, he soldiered on and finished the willow fence around bed #7 and dug in some more coir. We both then went into the woods to forage for sticks with which to build a teepee for the beans and to support the peas. I think he was glad to get into the shade!

Rather annoyingly, my back decided it was going to give out half way through staking the peas but I managed to get the teepee done first. I was very pleased with it!

Oh, and I swear the cabbages have doubled in size since last weekend!

Yesterday we put in the runner beans. In 1642, although they were pretty widely grown in England, it was for their flowers, not the beans (they had field beans for that). We've chosen scarlet-flowered beans, as these are appropriate for the period (even if not the exact variety of 400 years ago!), and of course, we WILL be eating the beans!

I was going to put sweet peas in at the same time but a couple of nights ago, something got into our garden at home (yes, the walled courtyard!) uprooted them from their pots. They also had a go at the cavolo nero. Grrrr. Fortunately it looks like I've only lost one of the latter and a couple of the former but they're in a bit of a sorry state. I'll give them a week or so to recover and then get them in at Holdenby.

Also planted out some land cress between the beans, around the edges of the bed. I'm wondering whether to put the kale in the centre - there's a lot of space which is not being used but of course, this is going to become pretty shady once the beans and sweet peas grow up the teepee, so I think a fast-growing crop is out really. Anyone have any suggestions?

Dock and thistles are still very much a bane of my life - so much so that I am giving serious consideration to putting some chemicals down when the current crops in bed #8 are done. I loathe the idea of using weekiller but we just can't keep on top of the dock and thistles, despite 10 months of constantly digging them out. In truth, I suspect that we've probably made it worse because of leaving behind broken bits of roots, which of course, then grow into more plants. Anyway, I haven't quite made my mind up yet - use weedkiller to get rid of the problem once and for all, or just continue to hurt my back (and have a grumpy partner!) trying to dig them out, knowing that they'll keep coming back, competing with the crops? It's a tricky one.

Back to the good news though; the peas are now podding, and we've been eating fresh garden/herby salads twice a day, every day since the weekend! I don't know if it's this or the weather, but I am in a very happy place right now!

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