January, the month of planning.

Here is the blog I had already written up last week, the one that the ‘rant’ replaced, on the up side, it saved me a hour of time this week πŸ˜€

Happy New Year to you all, I hope you had a good one.

The beginning of the year nearly always brings planning to the fore, planning holidays, planning diets or abstentions and for me planning the veg garden in particular. The first thing on the list is always the rotation plan and I have completed that although I do find it gets tweaked a little as time goes on. Next on the list are jobs that need doing before any kind of planting can even begin, repairs being the main one, some boards around the beds have rotted and need replacing and although it’s a bit wet at the moment they can be ordered in readiness. Due to the amount of rain we have had (and it’s not finished yet) the most planning I need to do is in regards to the soil, the garden is on a slight slope and those two things combined will mean that leaching will have occurred for sure. Nutrients and minerals will have been washed away and need to be replaced, we have piles of manure and will be using plenty of that to increase the bulk and improve the soil properties but I think extra will be needed this year. With that in mind I have ordered the usual suspects, blood, fish and bone, a slow acting fertiliser, this will be used at the potting up or planting stage and sulphate of potash to encourage flowering especially around the strawberries, more flowers = more fruit, this will be lightly forked in so that it reaches the roots. Two others that I will be trying are mycorrhizal fungus and a totally new one on me, Rock Dust! The fungus has been around for a few years and has a symbiotic relationship with plants meaning that the fungus lives on the roots of the plants but far from being harmful it actually helps the roots by helping them to access nutrients from further afield than they normally would be able to reach. The rock dust is exactly that crushed rock containing plenty of minerals, there are stories of fantastic results and huge veg when using this product, I am not wanting competition sized carrots but I am hoping for good healthy plants πŸ˜ƒ

I have been able to get some planting under way, I have JalapeΓ±os and tomato seeds in a heated propagator on the side in the boot room and also basil and coriander on the window sill, so we are underway. I really ought to think about getting some veg sown in the poly tunnel as I left that fallow over winter, I thought the soil might be too wet but I had a look today and it seems fine so broad beans and early peas could go in and hopefully not get eaten by mice! 

Strangely the Quail have started to lay again already, this could be due to the unseasonably warm weather or the fact that I had to bring them indoors and the light is on in the morning and evening thus increasing the amount of light they are getting, I think the latter is more likely. With that fact in mind today I ran a cable across to the chicken house and put a light in there, I have drawn up a tally sheet to record the number of eggs we get and see if the light makes any difference, I am mindful that as the nights draw out the egg numbers would increase naturally as well but it will be interesting to find out if it works. Trivia: Did you know that when a hen is born she is born with all the eggs she will ever produce already inside her! 

Footnote: as yet the egg numbers have not changed in the last week at all πŸ˜”

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