A wet and miserable June!

3 Jul

Not much has gone on in the last 18 days, apart from we are rapidly approaching producing 35-40% of what we eat vegetable wise from our 9 sq/mtr project. Although everything we have as work-in-progress in the conservatory in pots is coming along extremely nicely, with most of it ready for planting out when we have the joyous experience of a break in the rain. … the amount of this wet weather we are having this year is becoming ridiculous!
Lois and decided to have a few days away with 3 nights booked into the cheap and cheerful travel lodge located in Glastonbury, and the rest of the week travelling on our whim and booking into accommodation wherever we found ourselves. We climbed Glastonbury Tor, visited near by Wells and were enchanted by the architecture of Wells cathedral, did approximately half of the Wells Swan trail art project in the pouring rain, popped into Somerset Wood recycling in Weston-Super-Mare, went down Wookie hole, walked through Cheddar Gorge, which also included a trip down both Gough’s and the Cox’s Crystal caves, bought cider, perry & vinegar from Hecks of Street, and we enjoyed a day at Longleat safari park.
Alas, the weather was very unkind to us and after trying to book accommodation in a very wet and rain sodden Oxford we drove on to Warwick. We had a pleasant morning in Warwick, when the rain began again, and so we decided to have a quick internet search of attractions within 100 miles of Warwick. With many varied cities, towns, villages and tourist attractions to choose from we then checked various weather reports for possible destinations, and were bitterly disappointed with what we saw. So with that in mind, and a sort of decent forecast for a few days in East Anglia we returned home to Norwich. With these few extra days at home it is our intention to get a head start on some redecorating and a couple of other DIY projects: I’ve also got a quick and simple reclaimed pallet timber project that I want to complete and post up on a couple of Internet sites.
The reality of this 9 sq/mtr project has finally dawned on me this week, in that it is not one of those quick or instant gratification things that we who populate this modern world have become so accustomed to. I thought that by 6 and almost 7 months in that we would be producing at least 80-85% of the vegetables in our diet.  As mentioned above we are currently at the 35-40% mark, and the cropping rate will soon be increased to about 50%. Although the reduction in our grocery bill is very much appreciated, it is self satisfaction that is our true goal, and though we are satisfied with our current achievement so far, there is a certain longing and high degree of challenge to improve and do better.
With this mind, we have decided to begin feeding our growing vegetables with the home-made feed teas I have been making over the last 6 or so months. Virtually every weed that we have plucked from the garden this year has gone into a 60 litre plastic barrel, which has been started off with about 5 litres of my urine, and all of the waste water that I have produced when cooking. I tend not to add salt when steaming vegetables, preferring to add it at the table, but Lois does add salt during cooking. So I have utilised every drop of this waste water and the collected condensate from the steaming process that my cooking has produced, because of the minerals that are removed from the vegetables when cooked in this way; which is an awful lot less than if they were submerged and boiled in the cooking water. It is also this same ethos that I am applying to removed weeds: they have already taken up minerals and trace elements  from the soil in our garden and I am trying to redress this balance without importing artificial replacements by adding the weeds to the barrel full of urine diluted with cooking water, and hopefully recycling these Minerals, trace elements and nutrients. It is a continual on going process which I began last winter and this liquid tea will now be added regularly to water in the watering can at a dilution ratio of 1 part tea to 20 parts water. I also have about 30 litres of Comfrey tea initially made in the springtime of 2011, but which still contains the comfrey fibres from last year, so I have made a  “3 box” bamboo trials frame which I will use on one section of the lawn so I can evaluate the effectiveness of both of these home made plant feed teas. One box will be fed with weed tea, one box will be fed with comfrey tea and the third, central box will be utilised as a no feed control so that the results can be directly compared.
We have purchased about 2kg of blood, fish & bone meal for use as a general top dressing for the whole garden, and I have used a reasonable amount of well rotted Horse & Donkey manure from the local sanctuary in the bases of each section of all the new planters. So from the organic feed and nutrient replacement side of things I think we have it more or less covered.
Unfortunately there are no photos at the moment; my new Lumix compact digital camera that Lois bought me for my 50th birthday has ceased to function, and due to redecorating a couple of rooms I have mislaid my “held together “ with elastic bands but still working Kodak digital camera.

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