Andrew is cutting the hedges in the orchard, we'll bring you that next week and show you how we do it and the difference it makes to a hedge, we can hear him snipping away - clack, clack, clack - like a manic hairdresser. He refuses to use petrol hedge trimmers, they leave him with shaking hands for days, a feeling of constant pins and needles. He also points out that it's easier to make a mistake with a hedge trimmer where the use of hand shears is somewhat slow, calm and relaxed. He says all this with sweat dripping down his face. Red faced calm. We need that kind of calm because Little D and me are harvesting our blight ridden spuds. Andrew dug up two of the tyre stacks the other week and wept. So, we are hopeful and at least Little D gets to make his fingers dirty.
The first thing we notice is how awful the compost we got from the council is. It felt great but a little rough when we first got it, but we've had worse and planted well into it. We decided to go down this route to save money but also to use recycled materials. Though it would be great to enrich soil it is punctuated with glass, plastic and seed. This means we have to watch Little D, though Little D listens (sometimes) he does have small fingers and glass in compost is a no-no. Shame the council has failed on this making a product that could easily harm children and adults alike. We find pockets of seed in the compost like a seed bomb has been dropped into our potatoes. At first we think it may be slug eggs but they aren't, they look like lupin seed but what does make us worried is how boggy the soil is, there is simply no drainage and these are in tyres! Water should just run through them. We won't be using this compost again and wouldn't recommend it, roots would rot in this level of damp and sure enough there is no sign of any root system around the potatoes. How do councils get away with providing such poor compost?
Little D and I clear out twelve tyre stacks at two tyres high, we're expecting pounds of spuds because in previous years we have had up to 10-15lbs (approximately 7kg) from a stack but we end up with this.
A shallow trug with new potato size spuds. This is what blight does but blight can creep in to weakened plants too and the soil is part of the blame here. We'll have some meals off this but last year we had sacks we could barely carry between us all, Little D carries this into the kitchen and we notch it up to experience.