Walking through the garden recently, the remnants of the harsh summer just gone were still there to be seen.
The ginkgo tree all but given up for dead (twice in two years), a fig tree cutting planted “temporarily” in the corner of the garden away from the drip system, and a beautiful horse chestnut that shot up in late spring and then waned and burned through those scorching hot days.
All of these plants had been almost given up on during summer; and yet in early autumn, they all started to sprout new life.
It got me thinking about the resilience and the intelligence of our neighbours in the plant kingdom. Read More
Summer is the time of abundance. Autumn is too with plenty of zucchini, tomatoes,chard, zucchinis, potatoes, basil, zucchini, pumpkins and even more zucchini! In fact, mostly zucchini it seems.
If you have friends call by, whom you haven’t seen for a while, be wary, it could be they’re just looking for somewhere to off load their glut of zucchinis. We don’t really need to lock our cars in this town but at this time of year there’s a risk you’ll find it full of zucchinis if you don’t!
I actually love zucchinis, necessity is the mother of invention and I have already sent out some of my favourites to our customers. I will repeat them here eventually, but until then, here’s a new one fresh from todays picking and so delicious that I didn’t think to take a photo till I was half way through my meal. Hence the half plate photo… I was hungry and it was good!
Please be aware that when cooking with vegetables that can vary so much in size (and the zucchini is perfect for this) you may need to do some adjusting. My standing rule is taste test all the way and check consistency and above all trust your intuition! Read More
Beekeeping (apiculture, from apis, Latin for bee), is maintenance of a colony of bees, usualky in a man-made box that contains a hive. People keep bees for honey production, as well as the production of beeswax and other by-products, such as pollen (which is a remedy for allergies), and royal jelly.
Bees are also integral to agriculture that requires pollination, as bees pollinate plants while collecting nectar (which they use as food). To this end, the relative instability of bee colonies worldwide (generally referred to as “Colony Collapse Disorder”), has been distressing, as global agriculture is very dependent on the health and abilities of bees to pollinate commercial crops. Read More
Wwoofing, at first, sounds a bit like the noise a dog makes. The practice, which is an acronym for “worldwide workers on organic farms” or “willing workers on organic farms,” is actually a global, cooperative system that connects organic, permacultural or biodynamic farmers with a volunteer workforce. It symbiotically benefits both the farmer and the woofer. The farmer gets a curious, excited workforce wishing to learn about the operation of small, sustainable farms. And wwoofers, in exchange for their labor, often receive free or reduced room and board and a hands-on approach to learning the ins and outs of farming.
I am always chatting to the garden when I’m there …. Where should I plant this? How far apart? What does the soil need here? Just simple questions and conversations generally and I listen for the answers.
It may sound eccentric by some peoples standards but it works best for me ( and for the garden too it would seem). To practise humility when I’m there, forego the arrogant human assumption that we are the only ‘intelligent’ life on earth, and let the garden tell me what it needs. Read More
First signs of growth coming through
I must say that despite the cold, I love the winter, not as much as Autumn and Spring mind, but a heavy frost at sunrise is awe inspiring isn’t it? Especially when you encased in thermals and a puffer vest! And there is something incredibly satisfying about pruning and clearing; and the inevitable mid winter bonfire.
June 22nd is winter solstice this year and it is the tradition to plant garlic on this the shortest day of the year (and harvest on the longest).
Having chickens for livestock is a great way to get eggs, meat and, as we explored last time, when discussing a chicken tractor, their other outputs, like their nitrogen-rich manure can make great fertilizer.
Getting hens in their early adulthood or in the prime of their laying years is one way to start laying chickens, but you have to figure that these animals would be highly valued. They can be found, but a productive, healthy animal on the farm is a valuable thing. You might pay more or purchase a bird on the downward slope of her laying abilities.
You might, then, want to consider buying chicks and raising them into adulthood. Here’s a quick look at how to do that.