About paulrainger

Smallholder trying to be selfsufficientish. Previously an environmental campaigner, and Founder of Bristol's BIG Green Week Festival. Me, I'm just a lawnmower, you can tell me from the way I walk.

How it’s going on the Veg Patch

Here’s a quick pictorial catch up of how it’s going on The Secret Acre Veg Patch after our unexpected slow start to the year.

Overall, things have caught up pretty well considering our chaotic spring, and garlic, field beans, salads, strawberries and red currents are all ready to start to harvest.

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Good Things Come to Those who Plant

Last year we created an asparagus bed by the greenhouse, planted up with a mixture of purchased crowns, as well as some plants grown from seed by Emma the year before in preparation.

As the RHS advises, new asparagus plants take a couple of years to settle in before you can start harvesting, so patience is required initially.

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Nitrogen Fixing Root Nodules

Last year we wrote about our Field Bean Experiment.

Inspired by results from Garden Organic, we allowed a section of our Green Manure Field Beans to grow on as an edible alternative to Broad Beans, and also to seed save for replanting this year.

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White Dog, Blue Bells, Slow Start

Despite our usual New Year optimism for the gardening year ahead, an unexpected combination of care duties, hospital treatment and Covid, meant that we are having a very slow start to our spring at The Secret Acre.

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Hello Zappi

It’s now two years since we said goodbye to fossil fuels, and went fully electric with our Renault Zoe.

And despite some periods of Covid travel restrictions, we have been very happy with it, driving the length and breadth of the country, discovering the rapidly increasing numbers of charging stations in lovely spots off the motorway. Nice, like driving used to be.

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January Gardening Begins with the Dream

January tends to get a bad rap as a month.

We blame Pilot for letting the rot set in when they sang in their 1975 No1 hit single “January, sick and tired, you’ve been hanging on me”.

But as Josephine Nuese, author of The Country Garden pointed out, gardening really begins in January, with the dream. So come last year’s cold snap, or this year’s unseasonably mild weather, we kind of quite like January here at The Secret Acre.

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Decent into Autumn

As the September harvest with its late summer sunshine gave away to increasingly damp and cool autumnal weather, we gathered in the last of the crops at The Secret Acre and started clearing down the veg beds.

Here are a few pictures from October and early November’s gradual decent into autumn.

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Rebuilding the Pig Sties, Part 2: We have the technology to rebuild them

In between this year’s growing season at The Secret Acre, from Flaming June to September’s Harvest, we have also been carrying on with our project to rebuild the Pig Sties.

Having completed the demolition with family help earlier in the year, we enlisted ‘Bob the Re-Builder’ for expert guidance in the shape of Al from Omnijob.

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