Dell, by James Nash

Dell by James NashDell, our border collie continues to be a favorite of many of our guests. If I’m digging in the garden however, she has a slightly annoying habit of carefully placing a stick exactly at the the point where I’m about to sink my spade. I usually throw it to one side slightly annoyed. But this is exactly what she wants naturally. She tears off to fetch it before carefully placing it at the nose of my spade once again.

This great sketch was drawn by James Nash, one of our guests over the Easter holidays.

Sowing the Seeds

Brocoli, Early Purple Sprouting

I’ve been busy putting some seeds down again this year. Nothing too exiting at the moment. I’m hoping that it’ll be ok to use some of the seed that I have left over from last year as well as a couple of new verities I’ve bought online. We’ll soon find out I guess. Unfortunately I never organized a proper diary to record what I did last spring. I did scribble notes on various pieces of paper but never really gathered them all together. So one of the new toys I bought over the winter was a proper label printer. I bought the Brother GL-200 Garden Label Printer, £24.95, which can automatically print the date on each label. I’m very pleased with it. Every time I do something in the garden I make one label for the marker in the ground and stick a second label on a plank which I’ve screwed to the greenhouse door. The plan being that the plank will give me a diary that I can ponder over next year.

Label PrinterI’ve also invested in an automatic watering system. The tomatoes grown in the greenhouse were a big success last summer. Popular with our children and the B&B guests. So I’ve added a second bed to the greenhouse so we can grow some more along side the peppers and aubergines. The automatic watering will hopefully make life a little easier during our busy summer months. One of the disappointments of last year was some of the longer root vegetables. Parsnips and carrots. I think it was a combination of starting the seedlings in guttering and the fact that there are just too many stones in the soil in our raised beds. In hindsight I should have put better or sieved soil in the beds, but it seems like to much effort to do much about it now. I’m intending however to start the seedling off in some old toilet roll tubes filled with compost. I’ll transplant them, tube an all, into the ground when ready. Again, we’ll wait and see if this helps.

I’m also trying to be more realistic about what we as a family will actually end up eating. The artichokes that I grew last year ended up being left in the fridge. We didn’t really know what to do with them. The beetroot was another crop that grew well but wasn’t so popular on the dinner table. I know we should work on new recopies etc, but concentrating on veg that we know how to cook makes sense for now.