Guerilla Survival

Guerilla Survival

Tuesday 2 May 2023

Edel Project - South Saxon Mark.


So far this year we have had very little dry and warm weather, though things have just begun to change over the past week. This has, to some extent, set back the growing period, and some of the seedlings I planted just after Yuletide are still only small. I may have to resort to buying tomato plants to get an earlier crop this year, since it is mainly these that are behind. 

This crop of peas in a large pot inside the poly-tunnel is already flowering, so we are ahead with this rather than behind. The peas were planted in plastic containers and then transplanted in different areas of the garden. 

Here you can see the white flowers on the peas inside the poly-tunnel; they will crop early. I have already used some of the tops of sown peas in a soup that I made weeks ago; these are regrowing nicely afterwards. This 'cut-and-come-again' method I am trying with various different crops this year.

This row of peas is in the front garden (south-facing) and is also growing well; you can see the fennel growing in the foreground. These were sown about the same time as those in the poly-tunnel, but being outside they are a little behind. A glut of peas will be no problem since they freeze easily and without losing any of their nutrients. 

This bed has garlic bulbs which were planted last autumn to overwinter, which makes them more hardy. Alongside, and by a small fence, are more peas just sown today. I have tried to fill as much as possible around the garden. 

Here the peas sown beside the bed of garlic can be seen more easily; they are backed by bluebells and other flowers in this part of the garden. I like to mix the garden as best I can.

Next to the garlic bulbs I have just planted some sweetcorn which are seedlings taken from seeds from last year's crop. They are very small as yet but putting them in now should hurry them on a bit - if we don't have a frost. But they could be covered if needed.

This is a crop of Broad Beans sown in a moveable raised bed; they can be planted in the autumn which is a better bet since it helps to harden them and not be so vulnerable to blackfly - but if they are hit it just means cutting off the tops which are the soft bits they like. But autumn planting is better. I have various pots with these in which are in the front garden.

This is a bed of First Early Potatoes planted in mid-March and coming through well. 

The barrel is here filled with First Early Potatoes, next to the bed going the same. It was used as a Strawberry Barrel, but after some years of trying this I have never had a good crop, so change of plan. We shall see how this works this year. At the back, along the fence, is a Grape Vine.

This is another bed, but this time of Second Early Potatoes which have just been planted over the past few days. Growing in the bed is a Comfrey Plant which is a renegade, but which, when cut, will provide some of the potash needed for the spuds. Along the small fence are Raspberry Bushes.

In the small bed are onions, and to the right is another bed of Second Early Potatoes. I think I overdid the buying of spuds this year, but they are one of the easiest to freeze for the winter months. 

This is yet another crop of peas, this time fitted in beside a shed; I have used split-canes and small twigs from pruning over the years, stashed at the bottom of the garden as a 'hedge' before the stream.

These are 'suckers' that ran from a Plum Tree which I have cut back drastically since it is a small garden and cuts the Sun off somewhat, but it is growing again and will be kept in check. The 'suckers' - if they grow - will be used in the woodland.

This is a cold-frame in which peas were sown earlier in the year, to help to keep the frost off whilst they were started. These are doing well, as is the Rhubarb that grows there too. These early crops can be harvested and the areas used again for later stuff. This bed was filled with successive grass-cuttings, leaf-mould, and over winter with the waste from the cabbages etc. 

Runner Beans have been planted by the canes, and in front of these more onions from sets (the seeds have not germinated this year at all). The Runner Beans are as yet not showing.

Leaf Beat and Swiss Chard, from last years work, are just trying to go to seed, but still being used in soups - one of which I had today. I have new seedlings growing that will replace these, but will be planted outside, since I need the poly-tunnel for tomatoes and cucumbers. 

I have grown cress (shown here) this year which seems to be a success; next to the cress are Strawberries which are runners from someone else's garden which I was given. A crop is already in the garden but these I'll find somewhere else to grow, and my youngest son can have some too for his allotment. 

These are the Strawberries which are just put into a container for now, but which will need moving soon into a place where they can grow. This whole area in the poly-tunnel will need clearing and digging over for the tomatoes and cucumbers, and maybe peppers if they grow - which was not the case last year since I think I have just two peppers to eat. 

The top photo is of the 'renegade' Comfrey plant, and the bottom is a set of Comfrey Plants grown in a tub, given to me by Scyld who is also working with the Eden-Project. 

These are Rhubarb Plants grown from seed two years ago and which are this year growing bigger. I had to replace those I have had for years and doing so with seeded crops has been a success. Saves a lot of money too, and I'll certainly do so again.

Two tubs of Mint here, one of Spearmint and one of Peppermint; I take out the old plants each spring and divide them into new pots, so this year I have around 6 pots of mint of these two varieties. They are used in cooking and for herbal teas, as well as being useful for steeping in boiling water and inhaling. 

A tub growing potatoes; again these are scattered around the garden to fill up spaces; they serve to produce the early crops of small salad potatoes. I have also grown one in a sack this year, and they can be grown in black bags.

These are peas grown in the south-facing front garden of the house: they were first put into a cold-frame which was then taken off and used over the first lettuce plants, which themselves have now grown big enough, so the frame has been moved to smaller lettuce plants. 

A large pot of Peppermint is in the front garden, seen here with a smaller pot of the same, taken from the roots of the larger pot in the spring. These go from years to year, and I get more and more new plants as the process goes on.

This is another experiment this year: in the pot are beetroot seedlings which are being used as a 'salad-crop' or for in soups and stews, using a 'cut-and-come-again' method. Not sure, but one of the pots had seeds especially grown for this, but the other has normal beetroot - but seems to make no difference whatever in this use. 

These various pots and tubs have beetroot (as above) and at the back are some Broad Beans in a tub. Back left, the pot is filled with Spring Onions, planted in a clump; this method is used to cut-and-come-again once more, since in my experience Spring Onions seem to take a long time to get the bulbs - this cuts this out altogether - cut like Chives.

These are the very small lettuce seedlings that I planted out a few gays ago: I have placed the cold-frame over them to help them grow quicker. The egg-shells are to help stop slugs, and dug in afterwards, over time, they also get into the soil which helps to stop the slugs, whose 'eggs' are laid under the soil. It does work after a few years.

This is the bed with the larger lettuce, ready to start cutting now; planted with them today are more clumps of Spring Onions. This raised bed had to be revived this year after parts were rotting away after last season. 

Next to the growing Fennel I have just planted out some Kale in small clumps, again hoping to cut-and-come-again with these plants. This I have not tried before so it is an experiment. As you can see, every bit of space is being used up for planting.

I still have one small allotment plot but having given one over to my youngest son it is not as yet quite ready for planting. I have a crop of Main-Crop Potatoes to go into this which helps to clear the bed at the start - not quite since the work is done ourselves in this respect. I will also have another plot when we have got them ready. 

This year more has been planted already, and I have put in a new small raised bed, and am considering using another bit of the grassed area to make another one. I still have courgettes and squash to go in, so will need more space for these.

The small, netted poly-tunnel will be used for brassicas again this year: I have moved it to get ready for this. My crops of brassicas has never been great, and even with this very thin netting, and checking for holes, the cabbage-white butterflies still seem to somehow creep in and lay their eggs. This is why I don't grow much of these, though I am thinking of growing some in tubs which may be easy to cover and harvest - we shall see how this pans out. A thought crossed my mind here, and that is, rather than putting in a new bed in the grassed area, I may move this poly-tunnel to a place on the grass, and grow the stuff in pots under it. I leave some grass to sit out on in the summer months, and it is full of daisies and dandelions which make a nice show - and are edible. I have also dug a small area of the front grass last year, and this year planted First Early Potatoes in that. It is rather sheltered under an Ash-Tree, but they should grow into small early spuds for salads etc. 

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