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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)

Not quite part of the gang yet!

Not quite part of the gang yet!

Well another year is almost over. 2013 won’t go down as a particularly memorable year…nothing out of the ordinary happened. The garden gave us a mixed bag of crops. The polytunnel performed well, particularly over the hot summer, but the autumn crops and stored produce has been a bit hit and miss – the onions are not lasting well and most are turning brown and mushy; the Blue Banana squashes are starting to rot; the potatoes are very scabby, and the sprouts are a bit small. But the freezer is full and the shelves have plenty of preserves and chutneys to see us through.

We did gain a chicken this year (previous years have seen us down in numbers). Nora is beginning to settle in and is slowly being tolerated by the other chickens, but she will always be an outsider. The other chickens have certainly slowed down in production as they get older – we only managed 429 eggs this year, compared with 620 in 2012! Even so that’s plenty for us.

So, what of 2014? We’re still in discussion about the prospects for our large field, but I think by this time next year there will be something in there with four legs! We’ve just started preparations for a new log store, which will be more accessible for both unloading logs and getting them into the house, than the current one. It will also be bigger, so that we don’t end up filling up random crates with the excess logs… we have learnt from our previous endeavours. In the garden, I hope to create a few more flower beds, and possibly a small pond in the garden itself (we’ve only got the wildlife pond at the bottom of the field, which is not very visible from the house). I’ve bought my seeds for next year, and cut costs by sharing the order with my Mum. We should also be able to share seedlings and plants, which may mean a more diverse range of vegetables grown. Our orchard will hopefully become more fruitful, with most of the trees growing well. I’ve just pruned the apples and pears, and they all have plenty of buds on, so I hope we get a taste of all the apple varieties we have.

So we’ll raise a glass of sloe gin to a productive and eventful 2014. Happy New Year!


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