Gardeners Start Your Engines

A lot of people made a lot of banana bread during lockdown. We made red wine and cheese. But apparently, four-time Formula 1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel completed an internship in organic farming. He is not alone of course, 1979 World Champion, Jody Scheckter, owns Laverstoke Park, a biodynamic farm in Hampshire. Continue reading

Winter Clearance in the Orchard

Regular readers will know that our usual approach, as slovenly smallholders, is to do everything about two to four weeks too late.

Hence writing about some of our winter clearance work in December, instead of in March, feels slightly wrong. We blame it on lockdown 2.0! Continue reading

Leaping into Leaves

Autumn, according to Winnie the Pooh, is “A time of hot chocolatey mornings, toasty marshmallow evenings, and, best of all, leaping into leaves.”

And who are we to argue with the great Tao of Pooh?

So all three have been enjoyed at The Secret Acre this autumn, while England endured its second Covid lockdown as you can see!

These autumn months always just seem to whiz by in a flash. Continue reading

Best in Show

Regular readers will know that autumn’s harvest season also brings forth the village show.

We have form, stating with some urban practise, and then some baby steps, before gaining experience for a successful all-out assault on a whole section last year.

To be frank, I didn’t think it could get any better, and along with the uncertainty around the virus this year, I doubted we would enter. Continue reading

Let Harvest 2020 Begin!

This time last year, after a promising start, events conspired to put gardening and harvesting somewhat on the backburner.

This year, events have conspired to have the opposite effect. Not just for extra lockdown projects like the greenhouse and fruit cage, but to have beautifully weeded, prepared and planted out in the veg beds for once too. Continue reading

The Lockdown Creamery

It’s not all been wine, bread, baking and making things out of pallets recently.

We threatened to extend our Good Life on Lockdown into dairy and cheese too.

And lo it came to pass. Continue reading

Let me take you down

The final addition to our new fruit cage has been the construction of a raised strawberry bed, like those you get in some PYO places.

Another project accelerated by the benefit of the extra lockdown time at home and again using our supply of junk wood. Continue reading

Nursey Times, Lockdown Hair, and Pallet Man Rides Again

We’re currently busy with the annual planting out now that the risk of frost has passed.

There was some unusually late frost here last week that had us dashing out for several nights to fleece the young potatoes. The first time we’ve ever had to do this, as climate change driven weather extremes continue to build. Continue reading

May Fever

Today is May Day, so happy Beltane.

It seems only yesterday it was Imbolc!

Facemasks may be the haute couture of the pandemic, but here at The Secret Acre they have nothing to do with the Good Life on Lockdown, but everything to do with Paul’s chronic hayfever. Continue reading

Show me round your Fruit Cage

You could have a laurel hedge, taking up the sunniest spot in the garden. Or you could have a fruit cage, where the fruit might be as sweet as can be.

We chose the latter, and took a preverbal sledgehammer to the laurel. Well a chain saw and a mechanical digger to be precise. Continue reading