Hardening first crop

I’m hardening out my first crops to be planted after the frost this Thursday. The plants are getting a bit big and I’m hoping they will be able to hang on another few more days.

Tuesday and Wednesday have hard frosts overnight and then no more frosts on the forecast – fingers crossed.

I’m going to invest in a green house in fall. I don’t have the patience to play this game with the weather.

$&#&@+ing cats

There are a group of about 5 feral cats in the neighborhood. I have decided that my new beds are the perfect Kitty litter. I have experimented with putting bottles of water in the beds to deter the cats- the idea being that cat’s will not defecate where there is water.

It did not work.

I have read that the cats like the soft compost but not a more prickly mulch. I am going to there for experiment with a straw mulch. This should not be a problem for planting because everything I am planting at this stage is being transplanted from the greenhouse.

Planting to early

In my keeness to get planting, I have planted my early broad beans too early. In Mid January we had a warm spell and so I thought I would benefit by planting out the broad beans that had grown well in the greenhouse.

The last 3 nights have had hard frosts and there’s more to come. I expect to lose most of this crop and so I have sown some more as backup.

1 month shop

One of the big learnings from last year’s attempt to grow food for the family was that there was more than one challeng. There is the challenge to grow food in a meaningful volume, which I had a number of successes with – in particular my salads.

In fact what I learnt was that I could produce food at volume but not at the right times and steadily throughout the year. That’s what made me realise there was a bigger challenge.

How do you produce preserve store and maintain a stable supply of food throughout the year.

We had to change the way that we ate and to grow skills in food preservation and storage. And so after discussions with the family we all agreed to run an experiment to limit our monthly supplies to a single shopping trip.

We worked together to plan our single shopping trip thinking through recipes for meals as well as methods of storage of different types of food. The planning exercise in itself was valuable and levelled us up.

In the end we took 2 hours to shop spent €500 and packed two full trolleys worth of food. It also took 2 hours to unpack and store the food.

Throughout the one month experiment we will be recording our learnings and Improvements for next time. The aim would be to progress to quarterly shopping trips. But let’s take it one step at a time.