Planting for the Winter….

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I have discovered that the soil I have here is not famously fabulous and have had to dig up an entire patch of ground and start again.

I am holding out for mature manure, and until then have mulched, composted, Epsom Salted, and 6x fertilizer which stinks, waits on the wings until the manure comes, then I will add fish, blood & bonemeal and start again…. It will all be dug in, I will make compost water, by soaking compost in a large bin, to water and hopefully the next crop of seedlings will be cool and grow as desired, expected, needed.

As I said in my last post, I use Franci seeds and have just planted new seedlings for the winter which include celeriac, leeks, carrots and beetroot. These have been planted out in raised rings made from a cut down water butt: I inherited a damaged, useless, water container and cut it, with a Sabtier Bread knife, into three bands. These have been filled with compost and river sand, to make the beds for the celeriac, leeks, carrots and beetroot.

I also bought peat plugs that I rehydrated and have just planted the next new seeds: artichoke, raddicchio, lettuce and Borlotti beans all to grow through the winter.

The summer Borlotti crop is just coming online now and there is an abundance of them. I have hopefully bought beans that can be frozen….. if not I will be eating them for weeks! But I have a dehydrator so I can also dry them.

I have a great love of bitter foods which are really good for the liver and the digestion. Much of the different raddicchios that I grow I then fry, shredded with garlic, and truffle oil.

The same can be done with Horseradish leaves and traditional round red radish leaves. if you want the effect of the the liver cleanse but not the bitter taste, add these leaves to spinach, kale, cavallo nero, cabbage or chard.

And then to complete the cycle, chickens eat voraciously! I am stunned by their appetite. I feel richly rewarded each day with a cluster of warm eggs and now find that they love dandelions and all other weeds, along with all lettuce waste, slugs and coriander stalks. Honestly, my food waste bin is a third of pre-chicken times…..