The structure of the site feels like it is starting to come together now….The polytunnel is up at last, took longer than expected, but with storm braces to strengthen the structure it should be safe from wind and snow. The winched side vents are still to finish, but with the season getting on the priority quickly moved to planting. My sad tomatoes and cucumbers had been in pots since March and where desperate to spread their roots, amazingly they recovered quickly from the neglect and after only a few weeks in the ground have greened up and are rocketing away.
I have also planted sweetcorn, French beans and courgettes in the tunnel. The planting that was in the original end of the tunnel that was sent into shock when we lost the cover in March have now been cropped. The early potatoes have been eaten (very tasty), and the broad beans and peas have finished cropping and been cleared. The extra space has been used for some more new potatoes that will be ready in Autumn, carrots and beetroot. The next job is to sort out the irrigation. It is taking a couple of hours to water the tunnel by hand and a more automatic system is needed. I am looking at seep hose, which will run on low pressure, but still it is long lengths to rely on gravity for pressure. The field irrigation has been much simpler to sort out.
The large 2500 litre water tank collecting from the shed now runs water to three taps around the site. A tap at the pigs, the field veg and chicken pen, this will save us so much time and work carrying watering cans. Thanks to my son Sol and our fantastic wwoofer Pedro for fitting this system for me for my birthday pressie.
We have achieved lots over the last three weeks with the help of Pedro, Paula and their young son Joaquim, the most wonderful Wwoofers, from Brazil, on the start of their two year tour. We caught up with all the planting, weeding and harvesting and even managed to get the hay in and make jam. We wish them all the best in their adventure and are missing them already.
We have had some good summer sun over the last month interspersed with plenty of rain. It’s been a hard year to get the hay in dry, but the machinery is all working well and we even managed to cut the hay in the orchard mechanically this year after moving the soft fruit bushes during the winter.
This June has seen a bumper crop of strawberries picking 10-15 kg every other day, we’ve eaten enough to last us until next year, made many jars of Jam using several different recipes including one of Paula’s with cardamom.
Having caught up with a few jobs it has been nice to relax and share the land with a few summer gatherings …..During June Steve Jones of Sector 39 bought his permaculture students for a tour of the site, to look at systems. Our youngest son Sol turned 16 at the end of June and finished school ready to party. We then had 50+ Scout Explorers to camp for the weekend, five local packs getting together before their trip to Switzerland at the end of July.
As we move through July we have to ask what is happening to our summer as the cold rain seems endless. It’s great for filling up the water butts, but it miserable for getting on with jobs. Dave is busy fencing a new area ready for more pigs arriving next week. To join our four we have their father and four siblings coming. The kune Kunes don’t dig much, instead grazing, they have been great at eating all the weeds, enjoying dandelions and thistles best.