Monday, 27 May 2013


   This country living lark has its ups and downs. Last night (20/05) was a down. The flock of ewes and lambs plus the ram escaped from their paddock. Looks like the ram must have head butted the gate once too often and it had opened. So out they came bleating away. I heard the little bug***s while in bed but did not act. So this morning what do I find? Sheep and lambs at my front door bleating leaving little messages on the floor (one or two were big ones!). There was no problem getting them back to their paddock. They knew where to go and I drove them without any problem. Only once I had them back did I begin to see what they had done. They had eaten all my celeriac plants that I had transplanted yesterday. They also ate my Cheltenham Green Top beetroot that I was growing for seed and were about to flower - takes two seasons to get beetroot seed! Annoyed is just a mild version of how I felt! I will need to assess the damage more closely but I think I will need to resow the celeriac. I should just about be able to get away with it but those plants looked really good and I am very disappointed. Guess what? Yes, you guessed it. The chickens. I sowed some late leeks a while back and they were growing well. I had covered them up to stop the chickens from using the bed as a somewhere to scratch. I decided to sow some Chou Rouge and F1 Lion King White cabbage seed in the small plot and leave it uncovered. Mistake. First sign of the ground looking dry the cockerel decides to take a dirt bath. I hate sheep and chickens!
Sheep munched beetroot

  Ok, three things working against me! Sheep, chickens and the weather. Heck do I have a chance I wonder? The weather continues to be wet and the ground is staying soggy to say the least. In between the rain when the sun shines a little I am mowing the grass. I am sowing seeds in the poly tunnel but the tomatoes now need to be transplanted outside very soon. Waltham butternut squash, Petit Gris de Rennes melon, Kohl Rabi and lemon grass all sown in the poly tunnel. Within a few days the squash had germinated and I am looking out for the melons! Outside I managed to get a row of De Colmar coeur rouge carrot sown but I have covered most of the row with cloche's to keep the soil warm and a little drier. This helped the first sowing to germinate which are now up and have their first full leaves. 
   In the poly tunnel I spied my first slug! Another "thing" to add? It has eaten one small cabbage plant. It very quickly took a flying lesson through the door of the poly tunnel. Other crops in the tunnel are looking good - Little Gem, Great Lakes and red Salad bowl lettuce, cauliflowers (lost three due to what I call soil rot - the stem rots where it enters the soil. Fungal disease no doubt), tomatoes, asparagus (still throwing up spears), radish and parsley. Outside asparagus, broad beans, peas, garlic, second early and main crop potatoes, Jerusalem artichokes, onions (four varieties - gone mad on onions this year!), shallots (pickle and "banana"), orbis (root parsley), beetroot, rhubarb, parsnips, carrots, lettuce, early leeks and although at first I thought it was a weed okra are  growing away. Guess I should not be too disappointed! 
Carrot and Parsnip
   In the poly tunnel I have transplanted four Millefleur (centifleur type) tomatoes. First time trying to grow these. These should produce large quantities of  grape like bunches of tomatoes. I now have 32 tomatoes planted in the poly tunnel, four varieties. I have plans to plant at least one more row of four plants probably Moneymaker.
   First lot of sweet peppers have been transplanted outside and this year I have decided to plant aubergine outside. The variety De Barbentane is a french variety bred to grow outside. It will be interesting to see how they do and to find out whether or not I am not to far north to grow them outside successfully. 
   Still much to do around the garden as always. I have sorta got on top of the grass mowing in-between rain showers and I am now cutting the grass "short". There is much "tidying up" type work to do and as always weeding and cutting grass around the beds. Hey ho! I am wishing for better weather and now June is nearly upon us I am ever hopeful. You have to be to be a gardener!


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