Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Don't forget the forget me nots

I was on the second day of the permaculture course on Saturday.  In the morning we did a recap of the last lesson.  Then we looked at streamlining activities and reducing the time and effort it takes to do things.  In the afternoon we had a chemistry lesson which made me feel ill!  I've never really understood chemistry that much.  My face felt hot and I had a bad headache (maybe due to low atmospheric pressure, my barometer reading was very low) so that didn't help.  I still don't feel comfortable in front of the group, which is odd, maybe it's the venue, I don't know.

Anyway, I think the most important thing I learnt was that permaculture's about the difference YOU can make, it's not about changing the whole world, but changing your own world, which feels much more manageable to me.  I can definitely change my own world and hopefully inspire others to do something similar.

Our tutor mentioned that some people are using permaculture principles to manage information, which is something I'm going to look into.  He also said permaculture is all about common sense - only not everyone has got common sense.

Whilst I was on the course Chris powerwashed the back garden.  It took him a few hours and he had to buy a new hosepipe and attachment but it looks miles better and I'm really glad he did it.

I've left it a bit late to get the potatoes chitting so I gave in and bought some seed potatoes from Brookside garden centre on Sunday morning.  I initially tried another local nursery but they wanted £3.99 for 4 organic seed potatoes which is extortionate!  I got 30 seed potatoes for £6.50 at Brookside which is quite a difference in price.  I also got some shallots, and 3 bags of manure, which I spread over the bottom greenhouse with some fish, blood and bone powder.  Chris also spread some fish, blood and bone mixture over the plot and some sulphate of potash powder under the gooseberries. 

The peach has just started to flower so I sprayed off the bordeaux mix with some water as I could still see the blue bits of powder.  I wish I'd never used it now.  I won't buy anything again that has the 'hazard to the environment' label.  It was only becaude Stephen Lowe recommended it when Radio Lancs visited our allotment in September.

Chris put some manure under the damson and some more manure around the rhubarb.

Chris took the owl collection at home to join the other owls in the shed.

On Friday I made a casserole using leeks, potatoes, carrots and kale with dumplings.  I had it again for my tea on Sunday.  I also had some red wine on Sunday night but I managed to stop at 3 glasses - good job I did or else I would have been going into work with a hangover, luckily I felt fine.

I've put a wool ball in the back yard for the nesting birds to use.  The blackbirds have starting to nest again in the conifer in my Mum's back garden.  Last year I saw a blue tit taking fluff from the hanging basket so I'm hoping the wool will get used up.

I bought the new River Cottage 'Cakes' book - which is ace!

I also bought the new book in the 'Expert' series called 'Garden to Kitchen Expert', which is also brill.

Some people on the permaculture course said they've already sown lots of seeds including tomatoes.  This made me panic a bit, but I need to stick to my guns because I sowed my seeds too early last year and regretted it.  They peaked before the weather peaked.  So I'll hang fire and wait another week or so.

Chris has sown all the chillies and aubergine seeds as they're the first things that need to get growing. 

I finished clearing out the propagating greenhouse at my Mum's on Sunday afternoon.  The staging is back up.  Chris replaced the wheel on the broken wheelbarrow at the allotment and painted it a lovely bright red colour.  He used the wheelbarrow to shift all last year's grow bags from the propagating greenhouse to the allotment. 
I noticed that some of the wires in the greenhouse had rotted so I don't feel safe switching on the propagators.  So Len from the allotment is an electrician and he's coming to check it's safe on Saturday morning. 

My Mum got back from her holiday in New York on Sunday afternoon.  I was worried about her in the big city, but she had a brill time and went to the top of the Rockefeller building, which she was a bit scared of, but did it anyway.

I've been placing some gardening orders for the shop.  I've ordered some vegetable and herbs seeds from Tamar Organics.  I ordered some powdered and liquid seaweed from Bod Ayre in Shetland.  I've ordered some coir plant pots and some more wildflower seeds from Landlife.

I spotted the first forget me not flower today.  Hopefully the border out the front will be packed full of them in the next few weeks.

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