Friday, 18 December 2015

Pink wiggles

Beyond weeding and harvesting there is precious little horticulture that goes on at this time of year.
But plenty of prep and planning for next season to be undertaken.

After filling in the 'Productivity of Small Farms' survey, and wrestling with seed orders this week it brings home why sometimes all this bucolic blissfulness can feel a mite overwhelming... 
Over fifty different crops; to fit in their proper places rotation, quantity, and timing wise. Then so many varieties of each to consider. It can get a bit 'kid in a sweetie shop' when looking at pretty pictures in catalogues... 
Too much choice; and of course they are all 'generously cropping; and of a superb flavour'

But then, when asked "What is your most profitable crop ?"
 The answer has to be "Variety"

That could be the spur for somewhat hyperbolic accolades such as; "It's like Christmas every week "

(A friend informs me that particular 'festivitie'  does actually fall in seven days time ; but I'm going to hold off believing them for a little while yet...And anyhoo there are plenty of sprouts.... isn't that enough?)

The prospect of say eight different types of tomato, or five different sorts of climbing french beans, in the summer could possibly be what keeps the patrons steadily munching through their kale (six varieties), and dreaming up 'new ways with beetroot' (three varieties) all through the Winter.

And it does make it a bit more engaging for the grower...

So today was the day, for cleaning the outsides of the polytunnels, in order that the shepherds delight can paint them this; oh so alluring pink.
 Algae forms on the polythene and cuts light transmission to the crops inside.
 But how do you clean the top of something that stands over 15 feet tall at its apogee; and that is made of slippery plastic which mustn't be scratched or climbed upon?
Well, first you make sure it's Friday so the man of that monikker is to hand... And then, check there will be some rinsing rain in the next twenty four hours.
Next half fill a dustbin with hot water and add generous amounts of non-biological washing powder. The bio stuff won't do...Eats away at the triple laminate plastic.

Have much fun; and several fails: at tossing a rope over said tunnel.... 
This man sails boats; but obviously isn't usually required to throw a painter (?) quite so high. 
Once successful.....
Dump a long length of crop cover mesh into the hot water. attach mesh to rope and haul one wet soapy end of it over to the other side.

Then it's "To me; to you" up and down its length like scrubbing the back of a whale.
Repeat times three.
You end up with very soapy armpits; unnaturally clean hands; and somewhat achy biceps; but the pakchoi and other assorteds are very grateful I'm sure.

 What if it doesn't rain to rinse? Deploy a farm boy with a hosepipe in the morning?
 I think his lie in is assured; I can hear it starting to chuck it down now.

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