A Job for a Rainy Day…

Grow Your Own Cabbages

The last three weeks or so have largely been dominated by work projects – I’ve been working extra hours and in between trying to keep on top of things at home. But after my appraisal last week – it went really well, but I set myself a target of NOT spreading out my hours over 7 days a week – I make an executive decision to not work today. It might be be a particularly progressive attitude, but there’s a large part of me that believes that Sunday IS a day of rest, and a day of reflection, and just taking the time to count your blessings. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t get my laptop out for at least a couple of hours on a Sunday, but here I am, Sunday evening, and I haven’t done a jot of work all day.

But it’s not like I’ve sat around all day, staring wistfully out of windows whilst reflecting on all the things I should be thankful for. A fortnight ago, I had been down to the local market to buy some plug plants from Bruce, our local plant nursery owner, but I literally hadn’t found a spare couple of hours to get them in. Finally free for a day to do what I please without feeling guilty for not getting in enough work hours for the day, I found time to don a pair of wellies and get out in the pissy drizzle to plant in my plugs. Admittedly, it had been so long since I’d planted any sort of brassica that I had to do a bit of gemming up…

After weeding the beds, I transferred some of the drier top levels of compost into our new compost bins, and finally dig down to some of the really good stuff. I thought I’d have to dig to the bottom of the heap to get to that black gold, but there it was, just a foot or so down, crumbly, moist and packed with nutrients. And free! I think had I bought the equivalent in compost bags I would have spent a good £10 or £15. And the best bit is there’s TONNES of the stuff left… (feeling rather smug). Thanks go to my bunny composting machines (their litter tray hay, newspaper and poop = AMAZING compost), my hens (RIP) for their poop and their bedding straw, copious amounts of mowing and my uber-weedy flower borders.

So with our homemade compost dug in, and the pissy weather getting persistently more pissy and windy, I set about speedily planting in a few rows of purple sprouting broccoli, spring cabbages, and Musselburgh leeks – all the time trying to stop our new cat (a stray tom who has made our house home) from jumping all over the freshly dug soil. We’ve now covered most of the newly-planted brassicas with a fleece polytunnel (after cat attempted to stand ON TOP of the tunnel) and used the remnants of the old chicken run to cover the rest (our woodpigeons and carrion crows are nothing if not persistent), and really, it’s fingers crossed from now until next Spring. In my few years as a smallest smallholder, I’ve manage to produce one fine specimen of a cabbage. The rest were either neglected, never made it past the plug plant stage, left uncovered and devoured by cabbage white caterpillars or decimated by white fly. Not a great track record, so even a 30% yield from this lot will be a stunning success as far as I’m concerned.

Picasso Potatoes

By the time I’d finished planting in, the rain was really driving down. I did a quick sweep of bird feeder re-filling, dugs up some huge Picasso potatoes (it seems all they needed was a few more weeks, and boom! Huge spuds), and picked a handful of raspberries and wild blackberries. It seems I need to officially welcome Autumn in with an apple and berry crumble and custard tonight. So I shall happily oblige.


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