Nursery Bed: The big event of the day was finally clearing the working areas in the Nursery of branches from the winter’s hedge laying, and getting it all reclaimed and covered in mulch mat. A lot of garlic had self seeded, and when we dug all of this up it gave us a delicious batch of green garlic. There was an area already covered that we’ll be able to start cultivating this year. We recovered a few plants from the brambles and Willow herb that had taken over. Last summer the nursery was just a sea of Willow herb overshadowed by an overgrown hedge.

Garlic: The garlic is coming on well. We’ve got between seven and eleven leaves. The nursery beds are still looking a bit patchy. Only about 10% of the pearls we planted have come up; just over half of the music garlic looks very healthy. The second bed has had most of the plants come up but they are all a bit stunted and brown. We can only put this down to the fact they were the last garlic planted and there is no shelter around the bed, whereas the next bed has one foot boards around it. We’d just just laid the hedge which had left the nursery quite exposed – maybe best to leave growing anything else in here until it’s grown up a bit.

Willow: The willow is coming on well in plots A and B. The picture is of the harvest in January of this year. The rabbits have been feasting on C and D with hardly any shoots left and a lot of stools nibbled – we need to do something about this! Initially I was worried about the indiscriminate nature of an ultra-sonic deterrent but I’ve capitulated as I don’t really want to have to install a load of rabbit fencing. So we’ve got ourselves a new “Solar Molar”, a solar powered beeper. And Lisa was right as usual, we’ve not seen any nibbling since.

Generally the willow is coming on well with about a foot of growth on some stools. We have left a couple of patches covered with mulch mat to see if it made any difference to the growth but there is nothing yet. However the growth does seem very patchy, although the Q83 is definitely the most prolific.

As another experiment, and to avoid leaving a large patch of bare soil for the grass to colonise we have planted it with red clover in the areas we have pulled back the mulch mats. There has been no real rain for a couple of weeks so the ground is very dry but the the clover is starting to come up now and put a green sheen on the soil. After we’d planted my dad informed us (retired agricultural lecturer – really ought to talk to him more) that red clover grows up and will only last a couple of years, and we should have used white clover which creeps and lasts longer. It’s all experience.

Coppice: The new chestnut and hazel trees were also getting a bit of a nibbling, so I’d surrounded them with brash a couple of weeks back that seems to have done the job and hidden them from the rabbits.

Misc: Lisa is very excited as she’s got herself a little weeder! Rose has discovered the delights of weeding (it’s difficult to get Lisa to do anything else ;0) And very intently she gets into it too, luckily she’s able to distinguish between the plants very well; she loves chomping on the fennel.