Thursday, 30 April 2009

First potatoes

Because it's been cold this year the first potatoes have been about two or even three weeks later than planned. But at last the first earlies are ready to dig and looking good. This year, for the first time, we've grown a variety called Swift as well as the usual Maris Bard. Swift have certainly lived up to their name and are at least three weeks earlier than the Maris Bard.

They taste lovely and are yielding quite well at the moment. Last weekend we had over 3 inches of rain, followed by some more in the week. This has been interspersed with days of sun (like today), which means growth rates are really good at the moment...that goes for both crops and weeds!!

It's also a pleasure to see the first carrots standing proud in rows. They're not all that far away from pulling...I reckon the first bunch of carrots could be in the third week of May. The carrots are grown under fleece from day one through to harvest. There are three reasons for this - keeps off rabbits, carrot root fly and it keeps them warmer.

This is such a lovely time of year - everything is growing like stink, but it does mean some long days for the grower.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Apple blossom

In April it seems like every plant wants to grow like mad. If it's not flowering it's reaching for the sky. This month we've got an incredible array of flowers out and it never ceases to amaze me just how vigorous the growth is this time of year after months of cold weather and short days. Once the vernal equinox is passed it seems all Nature's stops are pulled out!

Here is some beautiful blossom taken in the orchard - this is Adam's Pearmain, one of the earlier trees to flower, with the other not far behind. Next door to this is the newly planted orchard - just four months ago this was covered in bracken, brambles and gorse. I cleared it, cultivated it, sowed a green manure and planted about 25 fruit trees - mostly apple, with a couple of pears and plums too.

I actually meant to sow sweet clover here, but the seed got mixed up and I ended up sowing mustard!! Woops - it's made a lovely covering, but won't last for more than 4 months. Never mind, try again in the autumn. And the bees are only about 20 yards away so they'll be all over it at flowering time.

Here's another photo of flowers from the Island, including Narcissi, wild garlic, oxalis and gorse. What a glorious time of year...if only I had the time to stop for more than 5 minutes to enjoy it!