Planting Season

So much has been going on that it has been hard to find time to upload a blog (especially as I have never done one before so it is all a bit of a learning experience too), but the kitchen garden taking shape and the first ever planting for us at Penybanc feels like a seminal moment and worthy of a blog entry!

So back when we first saw Penybanc, the kitchen garden was  just a field.

We realised there was no drainage when we tried to plant something and the first hole we dug just filled with water. We should have realised there was a problem by the strip of rushes growing down the middle of the field.

So the first step in turning this field into our kitchen garden was to sort out the drainage. Our neighbour put us in touch with a local farmer who came round with his digger to dig a ditch around two sides of the field. I never thought I would be so excited about a ditch and went to check on it every time it rained. This is it:

Then we measured out and marked out the beds. Later it transpired that our measuring string might have stretched as the diagonals didn’t add up… but thankfully I don’t think that the plants will be too fussy about the exact measurements of their beds.

Then Jules got his rotavator out for the first time. It took about 5 goes over the grass with the rotavator, some digging was required to extract the huge roots of the rushes and then we (with help from Martyn and Rachel) raised the fronts of the beds with recycled plastic in order to stop all our soil washing away down the hill.

















The last push, double digging the beds and getting them ready for planting was pretty exhausting and left us all with aching muscles. Now the first round of veg is in: parsnips, first early potatoes, carrots, onions, shallots, broad beans and garlic. We’ve protected some of them from frost with a fleece, which I had never heard of before, but I love that my veg needs wrapping up until spring starts in earnest!

Now we need to wait for them to grow…. and the war on weeds and pests is declared!

3 thoughts on “Planting Season”

  1. Dear Sir/ Madam

    I require more pictures of “Rotavating” to assess whether or not to purchase a Rotavator for my rented one bed flat in London.

    I believe I can justify the expense as my last novelty food processing unit (a tame shark I purchased in Camden for the princely sum of 1 kidney and a 12 inch scar) recently gave up the ghost. Although he was very eco-friendly, he was crap at making seasonal fruit smoothies, so I am not yet mourning his loss. High up the list of priorities for choosing a new food processor is the ability to add a new verb to my common parlance – so a Rotavator looks like it might do the job nicely.

    I would also like to know if you can pick one up at John Lewis. (I’m afraid this is likely to be a deal breaker for me.)

    With kindest regards to your other farm machinery and big love for the soon to be built wine cellar (the plans for which my crack team of keen young underbunkers are no doubt Rotavating up a treat)


  2. Just had a look in John Lewis and I don’t think they stock rotavators. Sorry Boleface. Strange, as I’m sure there would be a demand – particularly in the Oxford Street store.

  3. at the moment little on the subject of being domestic excites me more than a kitchen garden. It must be spring…. really looking forward to seeing the progress of your little green things!

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