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Tag: cloche

Ah, primavera!

Ah, primavera!

That lovely spring feeling is continuing. It’s strange then to see at first glance what looks like snow, in the trees and the fields. Closer inspection reveals wild plum bushes bursting with white blossom and meadows of daisies.

So the warmer weather has seen us donning those lovely blue dungarees and doing some landscape gardening. The back of the house has a huge mound of enormous rocks and stones from the holes made in the walls so we’ve been using those to make a rockery and discovering a hidden talent for dry stone walling. Not bad, eh?

Meanwhile there are those of you who will be pleased that the first seedlings are sprouting, here broad beans and sweet peas. The leeks are up too and many others beginning to poke through. Our cold frames have been made from the old window frames balanced on breeze blocks.

Plus the super spuds are going from strength to strength, with a second batch not far behind. Helpful Luis handed over a box of some too so, if they all work, they’ll be about 40 plants – a whole bed full of tatties! The tunnel cloche over them was removed today as I decided that it was now warm enough. Not without some trepidation though – the bunnies have been seen with napkins around their necks and a glint in their eyes. The gate has been covered in chicken wire and the other entrance to the veg garden near the house has been blocked off with corrugated iron (not the prettiest of sights but will have to do for now), so fingers crossed! (And we are perfecting a wonderful Nigel Slater rabbit dish just in case…)

The second cloche remains up for the mo protecting onions and carrots although it seems to get very hot inside. I opened one end up the other day and my glasses immediately steamed up… the plastic covering is lifted when we’re around but until I’m convinced that Brer Rabbit and his friends won’t be round for a sneaky supper it’s staying put. We’re really looking forward to having a barbecue in the garden in the not too distant future – coelho kebabs, perhaps?

Another false start

Another false start

So, Thursday came and went with no sign of the builder. We are used to such disappointments, so we were not too disheartened. It was an added shame in that it was the first bright sunny day we had had in ages – but then again it meant a glorious day for getting down to the myriad of things that needed to be done in the garden.

I made another extension to the compost heap as Dolly (our neighbour’s horse) continues to produce poo at a tremendous rate. Apparently horse poo is the best thing for the veggie garden but needs to settle down for 6 months before we can use it. I think by then half our garden will be one huge compost heap. In comparison we are meticulously saving our food scraps in another compost heap which seems to go down as quickly as we put stuff in. A good sign of course as it means it is composting down to rich nutritious ‘stuff’.

This compost will soon be ready for our first ‘raised bed’ which Jackie has been digging over in preparation for our first planting – spuds. Unfortunately however, in her digging she is coming across prodigious amounts of vine weevils which apparently lie in wait to munch through any roots that come their way.

I’ve also been busy digging, taking the turf off an area which will be augmented with the garden shed. Round these parts, sheds and similar buildings are built with bricks, so I shall do the same. I have to say, having no experience in such matters, I fear I will be rather pathetically overwhelmed by this relatively basic task – certainly basic for the locals round here. I am hoping that Luis, our neighbour, will be able to point me in the right direction before I make an absolute idiot out of myself. In the meantime as I brace myself for this larger enterprise, I hope I can build my confidence by erecting an even more menial structure – the cloche. Rather like a miniature poly tunnel. Hopefully a few photos of this will appear here next week.

We have also been experiencing winter frosts. Not quite the thick winter snow of the UK, but this morning we were treated to views of the far valley covered in a white dusting and we had to clear thick frost from the windscreen of the truck. In preparation for the colder days ahead we ordered more wood for the woodburning stove and went on a foraging expedition in the surrounding forest for pine cones. Pine cones are nature’s firelighters. You can understand why forest fires can be so devastating once you see one of these little guys flare up.

For those not accustomed, it may seem strange that winter is the time for another crop – oranges. I have mentioned them in a previous post but loads have now ripened on our trees and we have more orange juice than we know what to do with. As they are really sweet, they are great for eating but not the best for marmelade. However, Jackie has made some anyway and I reckon it’s fine. It’s also good for the mulled wine!

We’ve also been doing a bit more shopping for the house. Today we bought a bedroom set for the spare bedroom and have our eye on a sofa bed for the lounge, so we’ll have plenty of room for guests. Judging by people’s keenness to visit us, I think we’ll need them. Just need to get started on the Bl**dy house now!

By the way, the builder said he was busy finishing off at another place and promised work would start on Monday. We’re not holding our breath.