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Snow, Snow, Snow

We had a covering of snow overnight. The temperature dropped to -8.8c, the coldest night of the Winter, so far.

The lane to the croft

The lane to the croft was covered in snow.

polytunnel covered in snow
removing snow from the top of the polytunnel

We have the tropical fruit vines and shrubs wrapped up in horticultural fleece to protect them from cold temperatures. Roll on the Spring!

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Polytunnel on the Croft

Polytunnel complete

Preparing the ground was not an easy task. However, we hired a man called Tom to clear the ground with a small digger which, took 5 hours to complete. Once the ground was ready we needed to dig 18 holes for the frame. Each hole needed to measure 45cm x 45cm and 45cm deep.

The north side of the ground was only 15 cms of top soil then 45 cm of rotten rock. The rotten rock is crumbly but, it needs to be broken up with a breaking bar before it could be removed. The south side was much easier with 40cm of top soil and 15cm of rotten rock. Back-breaking work especially in hot weather.

We needed to dig 18 holes 45cm x 45 cm and 45cm deep

The frame took 2 days to erect.

It took 8 hours and 6 people to fit the polythene.

Two-level raised bed.

At the moment we are creating the raised beds. Two thirds of the polytunnel will be used for growing vegetables and the remainder will be used as a entertaining area, full of flowers. Opposite the sitting area we are planting fruit trees and shrubs. We have a kiwi and a wisteria to trail over the sitting area. I have planted anemonies and alliums in the double raised beds. I intend to paint the beds with a nice shade of paint called “sea mist”

We have lots of work to do so watch this space!

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Giving Wildlife a Helping Hand

Log pile

We always like to give wildlife a helping hand in the garden. Here is an image of the log pile we placed for frogs, toads and other small creatures.

Nesting box

We placed two nesting boxes in the garden in February and both were used successfully. This box in the image was used to rear a family of blue tits. The second box was used by great tits. The adults enlarged the access hole by stripping away splinters of wood. The fledglings are frequent visitors to the bird table.

One cheeky blue tit sits on the bird feeder and searches frantically for sunflower seeds. As he does this he scatters the rest of the seeds all over the ground. The robins and blackbirds take advantage of this wonderful bounty.

pile of shrub cuttings

We pile old cuttings from trees and shrubs under the conifer at the bottom of the garden. The heap is tucked away from view and is a perfect habitat for hedgehogs. We have found hedgehog droppings on the back patio recently ( a friendly gift). We have very little trouble from slugs and snails in the garden. A perfect pest control.

Snail

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Deep Bed Vegetables

We created a deep bed 100cm by 360cm o the croft. We filled it with a layer of shrub cuttings, well rotted horse manure and compost. We covered the bed with hoops and special insect mesh from the company “Gardending naturally”. This mesh allows rain water through, protects from wind damage and keeps insects out.

The bed has been very successful we can hardly keep up with eating the vegetables.

packed with vegetables

Sweetheart cabbage, Rainbow chard, Curly Kale, Cavolo Nero and Swiss chard.

Huge sweetheart cabbage for dinner tonight