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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)


Droplets of rain on the Curly Kale

The full data for 2012 isn’t in yet, but it looks like it will be one of the wettest years on record for the UK. At the time of writing, only England had broken the previous record set in 2000. But 2012 still isn’t officially the wettest on record in Wales, with 2000 remaining the wettest ever. We weren’t in Wales at the time, but if 2012 is anything to go by, then 2000 must have been awful!

Other than the terrible weather, 2012 has been fairly uneventful for us, having chosen not to pursue any new smallholding avenues this year. We did get more chickens to replace the ones we lost in 2011, and they surprised us yesterday by laying 3 eggs (we haven’t had that many in one day since July!). 2013 may see us get more animals, as we are currently in the process of fencing our larger field so that we have the option of keeping something in it. But we have yet to decide what we will put in it.

In the garden there have been successes and failures, as there is every year, and with the unpredictable nature of the weather at the moment, I’m sure there will be plenty more failures in 2013. I think I’m going to have to work the polytunnel hard next year, as at least inside you can control the environment more easily. We always have an over-supply of peppers (sweet and chilli), so more space can be dedicated to temperamental crops such as carrots (which I don’t have much success with outside) and beans, which don’t like the cold and wet.

We’re hoping to plant a few more trees this winter, to fill a space in the larger field which we won’t be fencing. We’ve already planted some birch this winter, which seem to do particularly well around here, and now that ash is a bit questionable, we’re going to try some different species such as wild cherry, sweet chestnut, hornbeam and rowan. This will also add a bit more variety to the small woodland we are creating, which is otherwise dominated by ash, oak and birch.

Sitting here writing this on a wet and windy New Year’s Eve, doesn’t fill me with much optimisim about 2013, but maybe the jet stream will behave next year, and we will have a more “normal” year, where we don’t have to battle with the elements. However, without these events, there wouldn’t be much to write about! Happy New Year.

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Modified version of the Summer Polaroid Pics template