Monday, 25 February 2013

Biodynamic sowing days this week

Last nights full moon
Anyone watching the moon last night? huge, glorious and incredibly bright, almost like daylight. If it wasn't so fecking cold you could stay out for hours! Anyway I digress, it's sowing days I was thinking of, so if you are bio-dynamically inclined and you are sowing seeds here's whats happening in the next few days;

Monday 25; Fruit day all day long
Tuesday 26; a fruit day with a gap in the middle between 9-7pm which says no sowing!
Wednesday 27; and Thursday 28th root days
Friday 1st March; root day to 1 flower day from 2 to 11pm
Saturday 2 March; root day to 9am, flower day from 10am to 10pm
Sunday 3; flower day from 6am to 4pm, leaf day from 5pm onwards
Monday 4; Leaf day until 11 am Tuesday morning

Roots; potatoes, onions, carrots, beetroot, parsnips etc.
Flowers; all flowers and broccoli and cauliflower etc
Fruit; tomatoes, cucumbers, peas, beans, chillies, peppers etc
Leaf; salad crops, cabbage, kale, spinach etc

Too many seeds not enough time

a selection of the February sown flower seeds 40 packets.,..
I finally did a proper count of all the seed packets in the house and on order from different seed companies and the number is .....over 300.
In a bid to clear the overstuffed biscuit tins I have been sowing considerably more than usual and sowing out of date stuff in particular,( and yes before you ask I have been sowing lots of those pesky flower seeds that I continually don't get around to). So far only one packet of out of date Mexican midget tomatoes have failed, everything else is growing!
If I do manage to keep them all alive I will be looking for homes for many of them.Anyone interested watch this space and I will post you what I have and when its ready to go.

Signs of life

the perfect start to the perfect day
Before the day gets lost and buried under the piles of to-do lists and CAN NO LONGER PUT OFF lists I'm sitting here savouring what I think (by far) is the nicest morning of the year so far. A light frosty start, smiling blue skies and heart lifting sunshine-the perfect Spring morning.

Owing to a cut typing finger(I have only the one unlike these incredibly annoying people who can use two whole hands worth) progress on the writing front is slow today, so don't be surprised if I publish this as midday having started just after 8am. Its been a busy few weeks since I was last blogging with trips to the hospital taking up most of the time. Not myself I hasten to add but my dear mother in law and my second mother from home, both of whom are now doing much better. My mother in law has a new friend, her comerade in arms Bernadette in the next bed, they have great banter and fun particularly over one battleaxe of a matron! Mary will be missed when they hopefully let her home today.

yesterdays seed sowing on the propagator
 Peggy my best friends Mum and one of my own mothers dear friends is in coronary care and although I only got to see her once (having bluffed my way up to her) she is in great form despite being so ill with her sense of humour firmly intact. You really would need it, particularly in A&E where Mary spent her first night and us with her. It was Valentines night and lets just say its hard to think of romance when the room is awash with guards, a beaten up wife with a small child, a brutal mugging and a stabbing at a house party full of drunken low life louts who all show up at the hospital to continue the original fight. I left the morning after thoroughly worn out but I happily went to work feeling grateful that I teach Horticulture and I'm not a  nurse. Mary and Jude I dont know how you do it, hats off to you thats all I can say.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Sermons and seaweed

Seamus surveys the seaweed harvest
hail on the beach

the wonder of the weird stuff
Sunday, after surviving the ordeal of 1 hour solidly listening to the canon("a lovely man" according to my mother) banging on about catching fish with Jesus in the big boat we finally escaped to the beach.I'm not into religion(going to church for a quiet life), and the gospel this Sunday just annoyed me. Myself and my mother had a funny chat after about how pissed off those fisherman's wives must have been when the men came home and said " right Bridie I'm off to follow that Jesus fellow, the best of luck to you and the children".Dad perked up to ask who left their wives? and tuned out again one he found it was not local gossip. My mother was sure Jesus left the wives well sorted out, Auntie Mary doubted any of them had children at all. You see what I mean? who believes in this stuff? Anyway its all part and parcel of going home, not to mention meeting mums friend Maura outside the church who first congratulated me on getting married last weekend by hugging me exuberantly (I'm married 6 years) and later asked how my young fellow is ( I have no kids)!!! "She was very bad today", Dad commented.Poor Maura, at least she still goes body boarding. She is over eighty and lives close to the beach, but sometimes she misses the tide because she is too busy napping after being out dancing the night before!! I tell you something, the Clare crowd really know how to live!

a bit of a mess
Gingers idea of weeding
So back to the beach I went, poor Seamus in tow for what turned out to be the more colder and wetter of our seaweed gathering excursions. It rained and it hailed, walkers and dogs ran for it, even people on horses made quick their escape while we sheltered in the van and waited for the sky to clear. Later on the sun came out, warming our numbed hands as we filled the last few bags turning the sea green and making it look almost warm. But unfooled I turned my back on it, closed the door and headed home.Later, many months later I will be more than happy to brave the Atlantic and jump right in.

making progress

Today I got a few hours in the afternoon to clear and clean twin beds destined for this years brassicas. Last summer they grew peas and broad beans, sweet corn, climbing beans, pumpkins and salad crops. Now it was just a tangle of old supports and twiggy remnants. Maybe because of the amount of compost and manures they had received it was pretty easy to get everything pulled out. Maybe it was the moist soil, the lawn audibly squelched as I wheelbarrowed the spoil to the boundary hedge.After I had finished I covered the two beds with a nice depth of the freshly gathered sea weed putting three bags in each 8x4 bed. The only job left is to figure out which of the fruit trees deserves the remaining bags, empty them out and go off in search of Jimmy's stable manure.

filling in the good stuff

finished just as the light started to fade

On your marks, get set,.. sprout

Duke of york chitting in the utility
Chitting/Sprouting whatever you want to call it, has finally gotten underway. The last time I called in the two boys in Ellen Street had most of their first and second early seed potatoes so I have bought my first few varieties which are now in egg boxes, rose end up, sprouting away in the utility with Ginger for company.

Chitting turns out to be one of those words that is incredibly incindenary in a classroom, making the most grown up of men giggle like teenage girls. It was with some difficulty that I managed to keep it all together when Jack waded into the foray last week, wisely telling my strapping men from Cappamore just how dangerous it can be to mis-pronounce a simple word like "chitting"...

This year I am trying out these first earlies;

Plain old Duke of York (not red) supposedly one of the best first earlies
Aaron pilot rumoured to have an exceptional new potato taste
Maris Bard  again all about the new potato taste, high yields and rumoured to be a good salad potato too