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  • Writer's pictureHuttons Valley Permaculture

Thanks to the volunteers

Headed out this morning to move the sheep. Some days they are anxiously awaiting me and others they gaze at me as I arrive, chewing their cud, quite content with life. It's the days they are keen to get moving that I know their paddock was a little small or light on feed, and the other too big or too much. I don't get it perfect but they are solid, healthy sheep happy to help me regenerate the soils on this little patch of earth. What they don't get one day they'll get the next. I find it interesting looking at the effect of their impact on the grass in one day - green on on side of the fence and brown and grazed on the other.

Heading back to the house I passed the kitchen garden with the morning sun on it. The beautiful swiss chard was highlighted and it reminded me of how giving nature can be when you just give it a chance. These plants are volunteers. By letting plants go to seed not only provides flowers for bees and pollinators, seeds for the birds but also seeds for little offspring. It's set and forget gardening and it can feed you, and other creatures, extremely easily.

Made the effort today to get out of the kitchen for a while and do some planting. I cleared out one bed by cutting the existing plants at ground level leaving the roots behind. These roots will rot down adding organic matter to the soil and also leave behind little channels through which water can infiltrate. I'm trying to add a few perennials to my front garden and today added a beautiful sorrel plant. You use the leaves a bit like spinach and it has a lemony flavour. Looking forward to enjoying it in salads once it gets established. Being perennial it will be around for the long term and unlike spinach I won't have to keep replanting.

Also planted some leek, lettuce and cauliflower seedlings. Surrounded each with a little homemade compost which will hopefully inoculate the plant and the area around it with beneficial organisms who will transform nutrients into plant available form and feed the growing plants.

Before heading back to the kitchen I grabbed a few veg to add to some leftover chicken for dinner. My jumper often doubles as a harvest basket when I don't have one on hand. Today's selection included zucchini, broccoli, snow peas, baby brussel sprouts and a few chillies. I also managed to find a small corn cob that hadn't been ready for my earlier bulk corn harvest. Back in the kitchen I transformed the rosy juice of quince into pretty, delicious jelly. I made seven and a half jars which will go into the pantry to await their turn to be used either by gifting, selling or just because I need that tiny burst of sweetness on a scone!

Still busy drying herbs before the winter slows down their growth again. Today I managed to gather up a bit more chocolate mint which I find delicious in a tea and quite relaxing to enjoy at the end of another busy day.

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