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Sow The Seed follows the ups and downs of me, Helen and my husband, Simon - a couple trying to live a simpler life in south-west Wales.

I hope this blog will not only be a good reference and diary for us over the coming years, but will give helpful advice and tips for people trying to do the same thing, or dreaming of doing the same thing.

Find out more on how we got here.

What’s Happening Today

Tasks: Sowing; pruning; weeding; pottering

Harvesting: Cucumber, lettuce, radishes, strawberries, broad beans, potatoes

Eggs this year: 394 (hens) 317 (ducks)


This year's crop in the making

It’s been a busy few weeks. The start of spring means things are starting to happen in the garden, and there is a flurry of activity at the potting bench. The recent warm weather has seen shoots appear where they should and shouldn’t have. So it’s now the start of the battle against the weeds and slugs to make sure the garden is as productive as it can be. I usually start my morning rounds off now with a slug hunt, some of which are fed to the chickens, and the rest are given a salting. As long as I keep up the routine for the next few weeks I should be able to keep the worst of the slugs at bay. I’m also leaving a few strategic pieces of wood and rotten vegetables around the place, as the slugs will hide under the wood once the sun comes up, and also gravitate to the smell of the rotting vegetables so can usually be found in its vicinity.

Nearly ready for picking

It looks like the potatoes in sacks have worked well in the polytunnel, and are far ahead of the ones outside. Hopefully we will be enjoying some “new” potatoes in the next few weeks.

Bee inspection

The bees have been very active in the last few weeks, and Simon has done a couple of inspections following the winter season. All seems well, with the queen busy laying and the bees building up stores as the spring nectar flow starts. We’ve now put up a willow/hazel hurdle in front of the hive, to try to encourage the bees to fly up when they come out of the hive. Our bees are on the aggressive side so we want to encourage them to be above head height as quickly as possible and hopefully out of our way.

Time for a tummy tickle

The pigs have settled in nicely and have been enjoying the warm sunny days. We’ve concluded it’s a very nice life being a pig – eating, sleeping and digging – sums up a day in the life of pig. And if they can have their tummies tickled or have a rub on your wellie boot as well, all the better.  They’re growing fast, and have got enormous strength, especially in their neck, which comes from all the digging. They also have surprisingly sharp teeth, which we have felt when they decide to have a chew of our boots. A little tap on the snout is helping them to know who’s boss.

The chickens also enjoy the sunny days and spend a lot of time sunbathing and making dust baths. Unfortunately there isn’t much vegetation for them left in their run, so we are trying to give them greens, such as dandelion leaves, to supplement their diet. We have re-sown one side of their run with lawn seed in a bid to try to get some grass growing again. However, we know that even if we do manage this, we will probably have to re-seed every year because they make such a mess of the grass.

And a sure sign summer is on its way is the first sighting of a swallow. Although it will have probably wished it had waited a few weeks given this week’s weather forecast!

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