Sunday, 16 December 2012

Garlic, leeks and parsnips

The last week or so brought frosts that didn't really give all day, but the weather broke with a warmer, windy and very wet day, so the day after the ground had properly thawed. We went to gather some more leeks and parsnips. The ground was as claggy as you might expect and it will only get worse until the spring. We need to stay off the land as much as we can now.

The leeks were in beds covered with netting to keep the pests off, which we have not had to do before. The leeks are really tasty, but not as big as we would like. If we leave them now they won't grow much and we are ready for them. We finished off the first bed and I packed up the canes and netting from the covers.

Jean dug some parsnips. They have done very well this year with great long roots and not very woody in the centres of the really big ones.

I pruned the black currant bushes - probably rather later than was ideal. I planted loads of prunings both near the moved raspberries and in the hedge bottom too. Too much of the hedge is elderberry and it is dying back leaving a bare and useless hedge. I think a hedge that produces black currants would be great. We will see how well the prunings do - I'll need to cut down the weeds in the hedge bottom to stop them out-competing the currant bushes.

Jean planted some garlic. Again this might be a bit late, but it will probably do well in the spring. Sweet, home grown garlic is too good to miss, so if it doesn't grow I'll try some spring-planted ones.

The broccoli is still looking good in its covered frames. No sign of spears yet, but it is probably still too early.  It would not be there without the covers. Norman on the next plot has had cabbage, sprouts and leeks all eaten to the ground by pests. Some were covered but not perfectly. We still think it is rats. The ground is very soft after the rain but there were no animal tracks we could see. People are putting out rat poison and it is still been taken in volume, so it feel like a losing battle.

As the rent for the plot relentlessly goes up year on year, maybe the parish council could spend a little getting some help dealing with the rats. The water bill for the year (previously quoted as a major cost) must be low this year - no one needed to water much this year.