As the word smallholding implies, we do what we do to support our family through a combination of cash crops and subsistence farming. We do all the work ourselves between the jigs and reels of raising a family and various other obligations and distractions. There’s no design laid out before us. Instead, season to season over the past several years we figure bits out and do it, always incorporating two essential qualities. The first and most important for us is to provide food for our family. The second is to do so while designing a modest, simple and functional area where others can discover that it’s possible to create their own supermarket on just one acre. We may not be making our entire income from it yet, but day by day and year to year we get that much closer.
Three new outside beds were added to the garden in the last week. All three are at the north end of the polytunnel, one is actually an addition to the artichoke bed. We also divided the artichoke plants to double the amount we now have and there’s still room for plenty more.
At the southern end of the tunnel, the path project is progressing nicely. Johnny removed the soil down to the stone earth below and then sifted it. The stones were put back into the path and the cleaned soil was then used to fill new beds. Flowers and mint are beginning to line the left edge below the high wall. There’s still more to do on the path but the toughest part is done.
Below are the seeds sown this week and although peppers don’t do great without lots of sun and heat, we’ve chosen seven different varieties. Several of them belong to the lad who loaned us his grow tent and, yes, of course I sowed extra for ourselves. One of the types is called ‘king of the north’, and as the name implies, it’s claim to fame is that it does well in cooler northern climates. Here’s hoping they live up to that promise. Also, a few tomatillos and some melons were sown. The melons have already germinated, taking only four days to do so.
Courgettes are another seed that germinates quickly and the ones sown at January’s end have already been potted up. I planted two in the polytunnel under water bottle cloches and two into six inch pots which I then put back into the heated grow tent. The early lettuces are coming along nicely in the tent also. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that they’ll be ready for selling in April, six weeks earlier than the Irish weather has made possible in past years.
That’s all for now. I’ll be spending a good portion of the next gardening week cleaning. Both the polytunnel and plant pots need scrubbing and several herb and flower beds are now ready to be trimmed and tidied before regrowth begins.
Enjoy the final days of February everyone! Melissa Xx
“The greatest fine art of the future will be the making of a comfortable living from a small piece of land.”
— Abraham Lincoln