Phase One planting completed!!

WOW!  WOW!  And WOW again!!!

It feels like it’s taken an age, and the aches and pains have been considerable, but I am delighted to announce that Phase One planting is finally completed after 8 days of hard yacker in mostly sweltering Cornish loveliness.

Like everything that’s been done so far, we expected to have it finished in half the time it’s actually taken.  Adrian was available for a week to help, and between us we planted out 11 apple trees and 25 Lavender.  The hobbitsess were down for a weekend and helped tidy up around the apple trees and built a berm for the chickens in chicken run one, but that still left another 25 Lavender, 4 bamboo and 12 blueberries to plant out.  Adrian and the hobbitsess had helped by digging the next 25 holes for the Lavender thankfully.

I had to take a ‘rest day’ on Tuesday to do some washing, weed the garden, sort the recycling out, vacuum the house, dust and generally make the kitchen a habitable food preparation area again!  Add to all that an oversized, malting 9 month old Golden Retriever for a sidekick, and you’ll know that my kitchen had acquired a blonde carpet!

I anticipated an early start yesterday (Wednesday), but Bob had clearly eaten something that didn’t agree with him and overnight had redecorated the rug by the back door – poor lad.  Anyway, with the end of the planting in sight, I arrived at the farm around 9:15am, once I was happy that Bob was OK.  It’s been far too hot during this current phase of amazing sunny weather to have him up at the farm with me due to lack of shaded areas.  I plan to build him one, but this hot spell caught me out well and truly.

The bamboo was my first job of the morning, and it was picked as there were only four to plant out and I could start the day with a sense of achievement early on.  The bamboo is both a crop and a foraging zone and wind break for the chickens.  These four are a clumping variety that grown up to 10 foot tall.  The bases of the bamboos are a haven to insects that will keep the chickens happy and well fed.  Each chicken run also has 3 apple trees in it with chicken run one also having a completed berm for the chickens to shelter in.

One of my next jobs is to start building the chicken runs.  We have two of them so that we can rest one each year, making sure the chickens stay good and healthy and happy.

Lavender LinesThe Lavender had been finished on Monday and the four lines look fabulous, with the early flowers swishing gently on the warm breeze.  One thing that has been made obvious, however, is that these little guys need protecting from dogs!  So, I’m going to have to put a fence around the Lavender and Blueberries/fruit patch.

I’m looking forward to seeing the Lavender mature and its potential harvest boom over the next couple of years.  The chosen Lavender is a cross between ‘Munstead’ and ‘Hidcote’ (the two most fragrant types) so walking down the path between the four rows should be a total smell sensation.  I’m even excited by the potential by the end of this summer if they all settle in well now.  This rain that’s arrived today will help!

BlueberriesAfter the Bamboo was done yesterday, I set out the row of blueberries and set about digging the twelve holes for them.  It wasn’t until after I’d finished the 12 holes and went to get the blueberries that I realised we had 14 blueberries to plant out.   The blueberries are a mix that give fruit early, mid and late season ensuring we have a crop all summer long.  I aim to plant out at least another 10 blueberries to finish off the second line.  I may even add another couple of lines of different berries before netting them in.

I love blueberry muffins, so you can guess what I’ll doing with the odd handful to placate the appetite of the hungry smallholder.  That’s if I can get to any of them before the hobbitsess.  Those hobbitsess sure are quick at spotting ripe fruit!!

So that’s phase one complete.  Despite it taking far longer than expected, now that it is done it feels immensely satisfying.  I love looking at the Apple Trees, they are all three years old, knowing that in just 2 years they should be established trees providing crops for harvest and production.  It feels like the plan is coming together.  We are exceeding our initial ambitions and striving daily for a bigger dream to become a reality.

With low-level fencing, fruit net enclosures, chicken run enclosures and chicken housing to erect & build, I also need to build a shelter for Bob, and then start to focus my attention on the erecting of two poly tunnels and a barn, and stock fencing off an acre for the arrival of pigs…

Today is what I jokingly call a rest day.  It means that I concentrate on Admin type stuff, write a blog, update the website, tweak the business plan, and more generally, catch up with daily chores about the house.  It also means getting the costings and materials lined up for the next few above mentioned building projects.  Although, it’s fair to say, with a body that aches as much as mine does today, come lunchtime I may well take up residence on the sofa for the afternoon and indulge in a little Wimbledon!!!