Saturday, August 16, 2008
James in a rare vertical moment, and the patch today.
Time for an update on progress at Meadowfield Cottage.
As I hinted in a previous post, one of our chief reasons for moving here was to try and live more sustainably. For us that means growing more of our own food organically, whilst reducing energy consumption and the like.
So one of my first jobs after the chaos of the move had subsided was to begin a fruit and vegetable patch. As you may have gathered, the cottage is old, and had an ancient plot to its side, which had become overgrown in recent years - mostly with grass and creeping buttercup (boo!). We're fortunate, however, to benefit from having the remains of an old orchard at the front, with cooking and eating apple trees and a plum, as well as what I think are some damson trees to the rear.
Sandy and James have put a lot of work in too - as I've tried to explain to James, clearing a plot of this size is one of the hardest jobs in gardening, but will be well worth it in the long run. A legacy of the fact that this is previously worked soil is that it is remarkably free of stones. Nevertheless, it's back-breaking stuff, and trying to pull every last piece of buttercup root out requires a high degree of dedication.
Being a typical teenager, James has developed an entirely novel approach to the task about half-an-hour in on the first morning. It's called "sit-down digging" and involves sitting on a plastic chair whilst wielding the fork to turn the soli over. You can probably imagine how effective this is....
I shouldn't cavil, though, because between the three of us we've managed to clear a plot 17'x17', and we're just starting on a second patch. Thanks to the generosity of our neighbours over the road, we've also managed to dig in 15 barrowloads of well-rotted horse manure - collecting it was an experience I won't forget in a hurry.
Still, with a bit more work, we're well-placed to sow some cabbage before the end of the month, and to begin planting in earnest in the spring.