Saturday 6 December 2008

Winter growing arrangements

Crop updates, doubts on mushrooms, protecting winter crops

Last weekend I had a quick go at planting some Meteor peas: I seem to be late again on the planting schedule. Last year I had a few free weekdays so I am now realising that having only weekends is making it very difficult to keep a steady pace. Anyway, we will see what happens with the peas and I have also put in last year's leftover onions.

The layer of newspaper over the mushrooms spawn in the greenhouse had dried out over the week, so I made sure to give it a proper soak, and today I will check if anything has happened beneath it at all. I was so excited about growing mushrooms, but last night an expert gardener told me that they are a nuisance because once they grow they spread all over the place: this has somewhat shaken my enthusiasm, and I am not sure how I feel about them now. Being in the greenhouse, the spread should be limited but I would not want my greenhouse to be taken over either. Still, I quite like mushrooms...

I am feeling slightly drained today, emotionally drained I mean, last week being quite an exciting one workwise, so gardening is a must this weekend and I am so happy that today is a sunny day!
Besides, I have to plant winter lettuce before the winter is over: I am quite keen to get some decent crops despite the season.

As I thought a covered bed might help in achieving this, last Sunday I tested my engineering skills on building a fleece tent on a small bed. Ready-made fleece tunnels looked a bit difficult to work under, so my idea was to have fixed walls and be able to access the bed easily from the top.

The result is a bit clunky - I wanted to finish as soon as possible while the ground was still relatively warm (temperatures dropped in the last few days), so as to create a microclimate conducive to growth. I will have to refine my tent as I go along, but I still hope it will work out in the end and for now I look forward to seeing if it has resisted the wind so far!

P.S. By the way both the gratin and the pumpkin pie were delicious in the end! I did follow the recipe only loosely, though, as is my style... In the gratin I only used cheese, strong cheddar: no cream and no potatoes and in the pie I used cream instead of evaporated milk (was not quite sure what that was anyway).

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