We put our polytunnel up Monday afternoon. Given the number of bits of framework and the unhelpfulness of the instructions, we did it surprisingly quickly. We’ve chosen a south-facing spot behind the barn. It’s in the girls’ field (the ‘girls’ being our female llamas). They’re delighted. They had a very interesting time watching us grapple with poles and plastic. Llamas are so wonderfully inquisitive. They seem very pleased with the new addition to their field and inspect it every now and again. We’ll have to make sure we keep it closed, or they’ll be in like a shot.
We’ve started to organise the inside. I put some plants in straight away to benefit from this wonderful sunny weather we’re having at the moment, but they were just plonked on the floor. So yesterday we got to work constructing some workbenches from recycled building materials. I’ve had a potting session this afternoon – it’s starting to look a very purposeful polytunnel. We’ve taken the precaution of wiring the framework to two very heavy iron bars that came with the farm. We have no idea what their original purpose was, but we knew they’d come in handy one day and they have. It was worth falling over them for three years!
I put a thermometer in the tunnel. Yesterday it registered 35 degrees! Today, a cloudy, breezy day, it got up to a toasty 20 degrees, and already some long-dormant seeds Ruadhri and I planted ages ago are showing signs of life.
Our friends Corinne and Christophe promised us some bamboo cuttings a while ago. They were ready to pick up a few days’ ago. The ‘cuttings’ turned out to be large clumps of 7-foot-tall bamboo in about a dozen different varieties. Fantastic! We’ll be busy digging holes for a while. We’re watering them frantically as apparently bamboo needs a lot of water, about 20 litres a day, when it is first transplanted. I’m rather hoping it will rain soon.
The next gardening project will be raised beds. The vegetable patch has struggled the last couple of years. The soil is remarkably poor, except for where we’ve been putting llama manure. That’s good stuff! So raised beds seem the best way to go. We have plenty of wood, lots of space and a bottomless supply of manure – we just need to find the time and energy to get building!
Next Monday to Wednesday are root days in the lunar gardening calendar, so we’ll be getting the spuds in. Chris is wondering if it’s worth it since potatoes are 23 cents a kilo in the supermarket at the moment, but we’ve brought the seed potatoes so we might as well get them planted. And they do make nice chips!