Officially 806

Removing the old shed sign Carving a recess in the old sign Recess carved for our new number New number glued in place Our plot number finally up on the shed

806, standing proud Tractor ploughing next door Our new salad bed and strawberry patch Salad and onions Brick edged strawberry patch

A carpet of pretty blue flowers Wind had broken the fence I've re-enforced the fence now New buds on the apple trees Old and new working together

Spinach and salad coming up Not much use any more Garlic's getting bushy Ladybird on my leg A surprise opening

Lucy raking in the grass seeds The grass seed's now protected from birds Onions uncovered Re-edging the bed Lucy hard at work as usual

Rusty old tank filled with rubbish Testing for leaks There's one

I finally managed to get the carved sign that I was making finished and back up on the small shed at the front of the plot. I removed the original sign board that was on the shed and carved out a recess into which I glued the smaller green sign that I’d carved out, painted and then varnished. It’s been there for a week now and it holding up relatively well, although there are some streaks in the green paint which suggest I should have been a bit more patient and applied another couple of coats of varnish.

Back to the important stuff now…I’m happy to say that the snow we had a short while back doesn’t seem to have killed off the majority of our salad crops. The spinach, Mizuna and Iceberg lettuce (Or Batavia as it is also known - A horrible set of McDonald’s TV adverts recently used this name to make whatever swill they were peddling sound a bit more credible) all came through the cold well and have sprung to life. Unfortunately the lamb’s lettuce is still nowhere to been seen, so we’ll have to replant that. It was in the same area and planted to the same depth as the other seeds, so I can only assume that Lamb’s lettuce isn’t very hardy.

The fence near the shed had been blown over by strong winds when we arrived, so I rearranged it a bit and then used some of the iron poles we have laying around to pin it securely in place. There was also a lot of weeding to be done, a lot more of that than anything else in fact. The leafy vermin seem to be thriving with the recent spells of warm weather interspersed with showers. Our biggest enemy seems to be Groundsel which is springing up absolutely everywhere on the plot. We’ve tried to make as big a dent as possible on the population before all the plants go to seed (they’re carried on the wind which is why they’re so prolific).

After I’d weeded the paths at the top of the plot Lucy raked over the soil and coved the area with grass seed to try and encourage that to take the place of the more intrusive weeds. We removed the chicken wire cage from over the onions (which are now big enough to fend for themselves) and place it over the newly seeded area to give the grass a chance to get going without becoming bird food. Our biggest issue will be keeping it moist enough to germinate given that the weather’s been on the hot side. We might experiment by covering it with newspaper to stop it drying out in between waterings.

In between weeding and watering I investigated whether our empty water tank would be salvageable with a bit of hole patching. It seems that it won’t. After clearing it out and checking for large holes I took a piece of scrap hose that Old Bob had left us and siphoned some water from the full tank sitting beside it to see where it would leak from. Annoyingly it began to leak even before any water reached the level of the larger holes, meaning that the flaky, rusting interior was hiding smaller and more insidious leaks that would be difficult to find and patch. Let us know if you can think of a good use for the tank, besides being a rather heavy and inefficient sieve.

Exciting things are afoot in the potato patch! That’s right, this weekend saw the emergence of our early potatoes from their cosy beds. Lush green leaves have begun to spring up in pleasing rows along either side of the beds. We planted the rows of Arran Pilot & Kestrel potatoes around 60cm apart (the width of our beds is 1.2 meters) and left around 10 inches between potatoes (I can’t help mixing my metric and imperial, sorry). We’ve read in various books that we should pile the earth up around the shoots as they grow above ground so that only a short section is exposed. This is supposed to increase the number of potatoes per plant (due to more of the plant residing underground) as well as protecting the potatoes from diseases such as blight, to some extent.

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