Monday, 20 June 2011

Setting up new vegetable plot (again)

For the third time in five years I'm setting up a new veg plot, its really is too much work to keep doing this! The first site out of these three was an allotment plot and hadnt been worked for over 10 years , we had to clear loads of glass, metal and junk in some places 2 feet deep in the ground. The Second plot where we are now had 0" of soil so we had to trailer in top soil and muck and start from scratch. Both I these sites we built up to been pretty productive and healthy and then we leave them!!!

I shouldt really complain but its very tiring...very excited about our new place, moving house in just four weeks and will be off-grid and with lots more space to grow, including a polytunnel. Our hens are going to be very happy too (I hope) loads more space and loads more to munch on....:)

It is a bit challenging at the new place though as its up in the hills rather than in the valley so a fair bit cooler and with some interesting weather up there.

Horse Muck and Newts

Got loads of fantastic horse muck off our next door neighbour today, really well rotted stuff... Found a nice little newt in the pile so had to return it. It was a Smooth newt if your interested. Too late now if you didnt want to know.Am going to sort through every last scrap of muck and remove every bit of root that I can is well rotted though so its not like picking through a big old pile of crap....

Monday, 13 June 2011

Loads of Lettuce and sneaky nettles...

Our lettuce has been doing well but so have the nettles....the nettles are creeping as they do up through lots of our beds as the field next to us is full of them. Have started now to brushcut a strip along our boundary to try and keep the buggers back! Thats the trouble with bringing muck in as we did a couple of years ago...loads of unknown possible weeds :( 

I cant wear gloves for gardening especially weeding, it just doesnt work out, but man when youve pulled out the 50th nettle those hands start to tingle......that combined with the red ants...nice

Early Potato world

Harvested our early potatoes today, considering the strange growing season so far with lots of extremes I'm very pleased to have harvested 24 1/2 Kilos of nice clean spuds from one raised bed of 10 feet x 3feet :)

We don't have any second earlies this year so I hope our mains do as well as these earlies...

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Chafer and Beans

Had a Garden Chafer or something similar eating my Broad beans today, after getting i.d. on the bug I returned it to the beans! Just thought I should let him/her have a little munch.....if I find theres 10 of the buggers tomorrow it might be a different story...:)

With this lot of Broad beans I'm testing out the idea of nipping out the tops of Bean plants early on to prevent Blackfly...I don't like extra jobs if they dont actually do anything but its difficult to tell which ones actually work and which don't unless you've tried doing it and not doing it loads of times....... Have nipped out half of our beans and left the others, will see what happens. Ok so its not fully scientific but if one whole row gets Blackfly all over it that must be pretty conclusive?!

P.s. have always nipped out Beans over the last 5 years and have only had one outbreak of Blackfly....but what does that say?? It does seem that getting them in early (in the previous autum) is the best plan for stopping pests though , my Beans even survived last winters -15 spells!

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Sustainable living page

Thought I should mention, our website has a sustainable living section, some good recipes and stuff + links to some cool stuff...

Selling stuff at the local market

Brilliant, have just had a good day of selling stuff at the local market! We recently joined a co-op in Machynlleth called "Fresh & Local", basically means you don't have to get involved/risk buying a stall, shelving, getting insurance etc and some of your profit goes into running the whole thing. Theres a rota for manning the stall or you can opt out and give an extra percentage of your profit.

Tried out selling a few bags of lettuce leaf and Spinch last week and they sold so tried a bunch more this week and all but one bag sold, so thats a really good extra thing we can sell each week until the season ends. Mostly selling herbs and bits n bobs of vegetabled like Tomato plants, Spinich plants n stuff like that. Hope to start selling a few boxes of eggs pretty soon.

Home made plant feed

Comfrey & Nettle plant feed
Comfrey has high levels of potash and makes an excellent fertiliser for tomato, pepper, cucumber and potato plants.

Nettles contain lots of Magnesium, Iron, Nitrogen and Sulphur and make a good all round feed. Try to use younger nettles if possible, but its not a big deal if you cant.

Take care is you have close neighbours as its smell is very strong!  Pick a couple of large handfuls  of both nettle and Comfrey leaves and  place them in a container with enough water to cover the leaves.

Cover and let this brew for three or four  weeks in cool weather or two  weeks in hot weather. (Give it a good stir from time to time and you may need to squish the leaves back under the water as well)

Then squeeze the leaves to extract as much juice as possible Strain and dilute 1 part Comfrey tea to 10 parts water.

Use as a foliar feed and soil drench around the plants.

Comfrey leaves can also be chopped up and simply used as a mulch around any plants that require a high potash fertiliser.

* I used to make a seperate nettle soup for other plants, but these days I just add a whole bunch of nettles to the Comfrey mix and seem to get a better general feed mix. Various books have different dilution rates for Comfrey and Nettles, some say 1/20, some say undiluted. It varies quite a lot depending on how long you leave it, potency of given plant, what your feeding etc etc ... I 've never had any plants die on me :)

** These days I usually chop up the leaves with shears, maybe this speeds up the process or allows more of the goodness to release into the soup?

Tan-y-bryn fields vegetable plot

Welcome to our blog

Hi, welcome to our new blog...thought it might be nice to record some of the stuff that we do and which things work and which things don't. :) Our experiment is to try and produce 70%+ of our own food and stuff, quite a tall order really but its fun (most of the time) having a go.

Currently we produce about 1/3 of our vegetables, a small percentage of our fruit, all of our own alcohol, jams, bread, chutney and those kind of things. Since last year we have become self sufficient in fire wood, which is fantastic! Nearly forget our hens, how could I forget Peter, Paul and Hilda?

Scott, Ruth & Chenoa x