Friday, 17 March 2017

Spring onions on tape

I bought some onion sets and a few packets of seeds. One of them is White Lisbon spring onions. The seeds are embedded in fibrous tape, spaced at the optimum spacing. The idea is to dig a shallow trough, cut the tape to the required length, lay the tape in the trough, cover with soil and water in. It sounds interesting, so I'll give it a go. No thinning required and the tape is supposed to help with drawing the right level of moisture to the seed for germination.

It's a touch too cold yet, but hopefully next week I can plant a strip of tape that will turn into a nice row of spring onions.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Fighting with Tilly

Tilly put up a fight today. The tiller, Tilly, only has a small two stroke engine. It's for tilling the soil not tearing it up. I tried to use it to turn over a patch of ground that had not been dug over and had a lot of weeds. Together we managed it, but Tilly fought me all the way. I think it was easier than digging by hand, but only just. It was certainly quicker, but it still took longer than digging a much bigger area yesterday that was more broken up and had fewer weeds. I raked the patch today to pull out some weeds after Tilly had done her best. That will help in the next few weeks. There's still much more to dig over.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Digging again

Over the winter I've been struggling with a sudden illness. I wasn't able to finish the autumn dig and the plot has been a mess all winter. The weather was warm and calm today so I took a trip up to start preparing for planting.

I used my tilling machine to turn over the small area I dug last autumn and extended it into a bit of the plot I hadn't dug. It was a bit weedy, as you might be able to see. The tiller is not very powerful so it only digs a little on the first pass. I will turn this over again and then rake it which will pull some the weeds out, but I'm sure some will remain.

I need to extend the dig into the untouched areas, some have a covering of short grass. I'm not sure the tiller will manage that, and even if it does I'm not sure digging it in will be a good idea. Still, I'm doing what I can at this stage. My plan is I don't have a plan. I usually draw out a plan in the autumn and lay out the plot in the spring. That way I can dig over the places that I need to plant first. I didn't do that.

I would normally have a few things growing at home by now too, but this year I have nothing started. The good news is that it's not too late. I'm going to grow only the stuff I really like this year, so broad beans, carrots, beetroot, cabbages, peas, mangetout and sweetcorn. I might grow some fillers like onions and potatoes but that's all. The fruit bushes will add to the crops. I'm going to spread out the rows to make sure it's easy to hoe and harvest. The only issue is that empty space always grows weeds, but I'll sort that out as I go.

I need to buy some seeds soon and use any day I feel fine to prepare the plot. I've made a start, but there's a lot still to dig.

Then there's the little problem of repairing the shed roof ...