Tuesday, 3 May 2011

first strawberry

Last week I had the first new potatoes of the season and today it was the first strawberry. As you can see it's a big ugly thing but it certainly tasted like a strawberry. Oddly, all the others on the two plants are much smaller and still green. These are in a hanging basket in the greenhouse and the little sticks are to keep the fruit off the compost.
It's been a funny year so far with everything much earlier than last but, of course, if we get a rotten summer all the gains will be lost. My experiments at getting early crops by starting things off in the greenhouse are paying dividends but it could all have gone wrong if the weather in April had not been so kind. I'll probably do the same again next year but will invest in some sort of heating just in case.

At the last count I had 105 containers with growing crops in them and I've yet to pot up most of the tomatoes and all the peppers, cucumbers and aubergines. This has only been possible because I make my own compost.

Last year I bought a big tub of pelleted chicken manure and one of BFB and these are the only commercial fertilizers I use apart from some tomato feed for the greenhouse crops. I do make a lot of seaweed tea, nettle tea and various other smelly concoctions and gather wood ash from various burning operations hereabouts. I really like the idea of a closed system where very little is brought in from outside and as much kitchen and garden waste as I can get hold of is composted. I'm even now recycling the compost from the first container of potatoes that I emptied last week. With a little added BFB it's now home to some lollo rossa lettuce transplants and when they are finished it's going on the compost heap. I can sometimes get three crops from the same compost but potatoes are very hungry and there is not likely to be much left when they've finished feeding!

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