13 July 2008

Blissful Winter's Day

What a beautiful day! Perfect warm sunshine after a couple of weeks of cold and dreary -- shorts 'n' T-shirt weather.

Just the right sort of day for starting to clear up the Wintering beds and begin preparing for Spring. Things have gotten pretty wild, what with me being otherwise occupied in Babylon earning Monkeys. Kikuyu grass has crept into several of the beds... weeds mulching all the empty spaces that now -- some of them at least -- needing to be cleared.

Planted another length of salad-mix -- direct sown, mixed, looseleaf Lettuces in three rows, interspersed with a row each of Rocket and Red Mustard. The combination works perfectly; once the plants are all up to a harvestable (but still baby) size, I can just snip a swathe across the bed for a supper's salad, and get the perfect mix of leaves that we love best.

A "length" of bed perhaps needs some explanation. All of my deep beds are 1m wide by 11m long. 1m of the length is taken by plantings of insect-attracting herbs at each end of the bed, leaving me with 10m2 to work with. (Close enough to 100sq.ft. for the metrically-challenged.) Very convenient if I ever get around to keeping yield records1. The "length" to which I refer -- the usual "unit of planting" for many things like salading, Beets, Swiss Chard, Carrots -- is the length of my rake handle -- about 1.5m. It is a pretty convenient length for successive sowings. I lay the rake down along the bed and draw a drill with the hoe. The width of the rake-head gives me a guide for spacing rows... works perfectly for me.

Next month starts the busy season -- seed plantings... I really must get around to checking the seed stocks, but I'm pretty sure that I've got everything we'll want. I do need to get some new strains of Jalapenos and Serrano peppers in, but apart from that, I should be able to plant entirely from my own seed-saving. A small but critical step in our goal of self-sufficiency.

All-in-all a great day! It was just so nice to be out in the garden instead of stuck behind a monitor.

[1] i.e. Bloody unlikely!

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