16.3.10

Polytunnel & potatoes

A day off to catch up with things which need doing before the year runs away. The first really warm day of Spring and time to sort the garden out. It's a blank canvas to start with. Then we begin planting our chitted potatoes. First we sow two rows of 'Ratte' (right hand side) and two of 'Kestrel' with some blood and bone meal to give them a kick start. It is supposed to rain tomorrow, so we don't need to water them.

My broad beans are doing well, but they can go in next week when the soil has had a good soak.

Next *we* get to grips with putting up our new polytunnel - big, big thanks to Andy's mum and dad for such a generous Christmas present. Really it's just like putting up a big tent. Not my department, but remarkably easy. Apparently.



As *we* busied ourselves, helicopters began humming overhead heralding the end of the first day of racing at the Cheltenham Festival and it felt as if this very long winter was finally over.

We didn't realise it would be quite so big! It is 6.5 ft high, 6 ft wide and 14ft long. Our polytunnel
came from here, but recently I have seen the same models for less, in sales. So I advise shopping around if you decide to invest in one.


Actually, it feels huge inside. It is three times as big as (what is laughingly described as) the cottage's kitchen. It's bigger than our bedroom. And it eats up a lot of the garden, especially once I had finished planting my potatoes, (Duke of York and King Edward) using most of the right hand bed.

Andy is circumspect about the amount of space it uses. I don't care. Inside there is lots of shelter for my darlings...
...things are coming up at last.

Hopefully this year we might actually get some tomatos, which will be snug under cover and safe from the tomato blight spores which thrive in the damp winds of our wet British summers and have literally blighted us for the last few years. And there will be aubergines, courgettes, sweet peppers, chillis, perhaps even beans trained up the poles and arches. What joy it is to be a gardener - we have big dreams, hope for the best and expect the worst. In the end, it is usually something in the middle.

For anyone wondering if I still make things, if I still needle felt, if I still paint - indeed I do; I do very little else at the moment, and am working very silly hours indeed. Things are getting somewhat stressful. I'm still bound by client confidentiality, so I will leave you to wonder what it is that is turning me into a nervous wreck.


25 comments:

Catherine said...

I like that you utilize your garden as much as possible for growing food. I hope you get a good crop this year!

janet said...

So that's what a poly tunnel is! You had mentioned it a few times and I was too vain to admit I did not know what you were talking about. I thought it was some kind of tube you were going to plant in ...silly me. Good luck with your garden this year Gretel. We are hoping to be able to use our roto tiller this year..last was way too wet. I am looking forward to the Farmers Markets opening soon. 73 degrees and sunny this weekend ;-) My double daffodils are getting ready to bloom along with all the ornamental trees. This part of the country is famous for our cherry, dogwood and redbud trees. It is stunningly beautiful here in the spring..I'll be sure to post photos to show you. Try not to get too stressed out ;-)

Soozcat said...

I'm reminded by both Tara's and your recent schedules that so much of freelancing is a feast-or-famine existence. (It was the same way with my dad.)

Tara has been longing to get out in the garden for months--it seems she needs her hands in the earth to feel right.

Spiffy polytunnel!

Elizabeth Rhiannon said...

Oh, how fun! I'm waiting in aticipation at what your garden will bring this year :) And what a nice Andy you have to put that up. Good luck with your green and growing things. P.S. I love your new pic with the cute elephant, I know he has a name but I haven't met him yet :)

BumbleVee said...

Oh, what fun! Growing plants from little tiny seeds and babies...and it'll be wonderful to pick your own veggies when they become full grown.

kate smudges said...

I left a comment here earlier, but it doesn't seem to have recorded. I have major garden envy seeing those lovely rows of potatoes and bare ground without any snow. The poly tunnel will make growing veggies easier. The planning and anticipation of growing a garden seems to me to be a big part of the enjoyment. Here's to a wonderful gardening season with adequate moisture, lots of sunshine and warmth, few irritating bugs and a bountiful harvest!

Contessa Kris said...

Ohhh! I love your polytunnel! Wonderful addition to the backyard. Have you even planted blue potatoes or reds? They're both delicious.

d. moll, l.ac. said...

Garden up and running! Love the PolyTunnel, I'm sure you'll make good use of it. We are mostly battling gophers, but have few things started LOL.

Caroline B said...

What a good start to the growing season you have made! I'm still in the throes of clearing up the mess left in the garden by snow/rain/dog over the winter months. Your polytunnel should make all the difference - lucky you!
Hope you aren't burning yourself out with the work - but it's great you have so much on.
(Ratte, Kestrel, Duke of York, King Edward.......painted all them....)

ADonald466 said...

The polytunnel looks great! Good luck with the veggies. Our garden is looking very sad after the hard winter - we have lost some major plants, and Malcolm's poor olive tree is looking very poorly. I think it will take more than this year to get it all looking good again ......

Yarrow said...

Hey Gretel, I was wondering exactly that, are you still working? I have serious polytunnel envy now and am greatly impressed at how much you squeeze into your garden. Have the strawberries been moved then to accommodate the polytunnel?

acornmoon said...

Hope your project is going well, I am sure your garden will provide a welcome break. Don't work too hard!

Jessie said...

Well done with your planting! Your garden's going to be amazing very soon and once again I shall be envious of you clever gardening types! Your tunnel will perhaps nurture enough food for the village? Good luck with your other creative projects :o)xx

gillianleesmith said...

wow gretel - lots going on in your garden! I have to say that your last few posts have inspired me to start growing my own veg this year for the first time now that we have our own wee city garden space - I have lots growing on the windowsills at the moment and am trying to budget to get the pots to plant them out in! (it's not a cheap business it is it when you are first starting from scratch!)
The polytunnel looks amazing and I really hope it gives you a bountiful harvest!

Can't wait to see what lovelies you are working on at the moment - your lovely walks must be a welcome break - anyway take care!

(ps my blog has changed address but I haven't managed to put a note on my old blog yet - www.gillianleesmith.wordpress.com)

Menopausal musing said...

The tunnel will be wonderful. Lovely for you to get up and walk out to, smell and almost hear the plants growing. I love the smell of the interior of greenhouses/tunnels. We are rather saddened by plants that succumbed to the awful weather this winter, but cheered by the appearance of others that have surprised us (a violet in flower as I write). Sweet peas being taken in and out of the greenhouse daily to "harden off" before planting..... shall look forward to seeing where your other creative work is taking you.....

Erica-Jane said...

Wow! I have polytunnel envy! Cor, you can grow loads more stuff! Bananas...pineapples...kumquats...

Southern Lady said...

You have a wonderful garden area there. I am looking forward to watching the progress! Good Luck!
Carla

Suze said...

I know your hard work will pay dividends, Gretel. Both with your productive gardening and your "secret"...hopefully the working with the soil will help counter the stress of the other...
Of course, if you had a spare moment you could've always come and helped me fill rabbit holes...I'm beginning to feel like Alice!

Saffron said...

your sprouts look great, mine are a little sad right now as the cats keep trying to sit on them...

moonbindery said...

Very impressive polytunnel! Hope the gardening brings a little relaxation to your stress-filled life -- and I hope you can eventually let us in on your secret life (art-work-wise, anyway!).

Pearl said...

I think your polytunnel is pretty neat!! I bet your plants are in heaven and I can't wait to hear how wonderful your garden progresses.
Sounds like you are really working hard on your project. Can't wait to hear all about it.
Hugs,

Twiglet said...

Great gardening blog - brilliant stress reliever so enjoy every minute and it will boost your batteries for all that work you have to do!

Frances Tyrrell said...

This is serious gardening! You plainly know what you are doing and should have excellent results.
The start of our growing season is a few weeks away but you inspired me to stock up on seeds today.
I hope things are going well on the confidential work - very exciting, if exhausting, and sure to be beautiful.
I have tagged you for a fun subject, if that's all right. If not then please keep right on working and gardening and getting some sleep(!), I completely understand the demands of encroaching deadlines.
Blessings,
F

ewix said...

Green with envy over your little patch of earth and all the delights it will bring you.
Sort of like another canvas.
Loved the post below of the Norman church.
The US has lots of stuff but is sorely lacking in ancient buildings where people have worshipped and lived for ages and ages.
Americans often fail to see themselves in proportion to the bigger scale of things.
Hope you are getting some rest from constant work.

Rosie said...

I could quite happily live in there.