Mulching and Vegetables Update

The vegetable beds are now filling up nicely. There are plenty of potatoes, some Calabrese broccoli and other brassicas, chard, peas, broad beans, onions and garlic. There is some space left that will be for leeks when those go out in a couple of weeks. Then, when the first early potatoes come out, kale, beans and other crops will take their place and, with a little protection, should make it through the winter.

As I mentioned in my post about the polytunnel, I am experimenting a little this year with different mulches as an alternative to earthing up potatoes. Some have been given a thick mulch of grass clippings while others are peeping up through seaweed from one of our local beaches. I have also given some a top dressing of a heavily chicken-poo based compost. Basically, I am using what we have to hand and I will of course let you know how we get on with my not very scientific experiment.

Seaweed Mulch
Seaweed Mulching in Progress – An alternative to earthing up?

Peas and beans run down the centres of the beds as companions for the potatoes, hence the sticks in the photo above and I have also planted a few other companion plants, such as the marigolds that you can see in the end of the brassica bed.

Speaking of potatoes, one of the lessons I learned recently is that I have to be a lot more careful about making sure that I have dug up all the potatoes! When I was top dressing the beds for the brassicas earlier in the spring and weeding prior to planting, I found a few potatoes from last year had sprouted and were just about the broach the surface. Luckily, as I got to them in time, there were still quite a few potatoes from last year’s maincrop that were still in good condition under ground, a small bonus to supplement our food stocks during the ‘hungry gap’. I think we were lucky due to the mild winter and cold spring. This year, however, I will be far more careful to make sure I have retrieved all the tubers! Speaking of which, we should be harvesting¬†the first, first earlies from the polytunnel in the next week or two.

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2 thoughts on “Mulching and Vegetables Update

  1. I know you’ve made these changes for reasons of health and environmental stewardship. What further changes do you plan to make in response to Brexit?

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    1. I think personally that post the Brexit referendum, we should all be working against insular and isolating politics, acting local, as we try to do here, but thinking global. Engagement is more important than ever. I am hoping that Scotland will not be dragged out of the EU against our will and that our nation’s progressive, outward-looking attitudes will be allowed free reign. This is a worrying time. I am in favour of Scottish Independence because it seems like the option that will best allow us to reform land use, combat global warming, work for fair share and people care, act local and think global. I will continue to advocate for ethical sustainability and, in my freelance writing, work with colleagues throughout Europe and beyond on changing attitudes, informing and creating consensus. In this time of great political change, it is important to recognise that small, personal changes can also make a big difference…

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