Sunday, 12 March 2017

Taking shelter in the polytunnel

Plan for the day was to peg down the groundcover sheets between the raspberry rows and to mulch the canes with compost. But the rain put an end to my plans. I don't mind getting wet, but I was slipping and sliding all over the place. Some jobs are easier achieved on dry days.

Instead I retreated to the polytunnel where the mangetout that Sue planted back in January were ready for planting into the beds. About 80% of the seeds had germinated, which is good considering they were planted midwinter.
Hardest part of this job is erecting the pea netting, always a tricky and frustrating operation. So instead I decided to use the plastic mesh which I use for tree protectors. It was far easier to manage and should give a good framework for the mangetout plants to cling on to as they climb.
Before this though I dug out trenches and buried some of the compost mix which kept me so busy yesterday. It should retain moisture at root level as well as providing nutrients.



By next month we shall be harvesting delicious mangetout from the polytunnel, enough to keep us going all year. In less than three months these plants will have been evicted from the polytunnel to make room for young sweetcorn and squash plants.

Turnips 'Snowball' and 'Purple Top Milan'
While I was in the tunnel I tended to my turnip seedlings. They have come through well so I gave them a first thinning today. The same cannot be said of my early carrot sowing. As with last year, the seedlings seem to appear and then disappear just as quickly. I have yet to work out the cause. It could be slugs, but the tunnel population is very low. I am wondering if it is just the cold night air. The next sowing is due about now, so we shall see how they do.

Mid afternoon there was a break in the rain, though the sun never broke through. Sue and I lured the three Shetland lambs into a pen to administer their wormer and check them over. This was quickly accomplished and then Sue led them back to their paddock, transporting some mangel wurzels and beet nuts with her. I'm not sure she even realised that some of her load was being pilfered along the way!
Does Sue even realise what's happening behind her?
Final job for the day was to take the dogs out along the river. Boris has developed a habit of refusing to go outside on rainy days, but the promise of some dyke action gets him lively. There is one part of the dyke with particularly orange mud in the bottom. Boris considers it a great colour enhancer for his magnificent apricot coat!



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