Friday, January 29, 2010

'We sow the seed, nature grows the seed' (apologies to 'The Young Ones'!)

Sowed the first seed of 2010 yesterday.. Now spring really is just around the corner.  I sowed seeds of the plants i intend to grow in the green house and poly tunnel.  Tomatoes - Gardeners delight and Moneymaker, four different kings of sweet pepper and (mild!) chili pepper and  aubergine all in the propagator. Alpine strawberries and greyhound cabbage in the green house (not in the propagator).  I will sow leeks and calabrese in the green house soon and some more salads.  I have lettuce in the poly tunnel ready to plant out under cover.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Whehaay!!! (if that is how you spell it?)

Yesterday we completed our purchase of 8 acres of ancient woodland!!!   We have been looking hard for over a year for some woodland close to Clacton to buy and believe me woodland in Essex is as rare as hens teeth!
Then by chance (on colchester station when our train to the climate change march was cancelled!) we were chatting to someone who knew someone else who had left the country and had some woodland to sell.  6 nerve wracking weeks later we are the proud owners of a piece of old woodland consisting of ancient oak trees (with preservation orders on them) some overgrown sweet chestnut coppice, hazel, hornbeam and other species. This will be our fuel supply in the years to come, a place for great parties, and a retreat for quiet and regeneration.   Roll on Spring.  We do feel very lucky and a little greedy but we will share- honest.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sun and fun

what a relief it is to have a sunny day!!  Couldnt get enough of it - pruning apples, chipping sticks to put down in the muddy chicken run, walking in the woods, wow! - hope your day was as good as mine!  Yesterday we went to a transition town event at Manningtree, it was an 'unwanted  present and toy swap'.  A great idea to get rid of all your unwanted connsumer items! only problem is you have to take something home in exchange - damn, just when I thought I was reducing our mounds of stuff!!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Not starving in the snow!

Just to reassure anyone who thinks self reliance means starving in the winter cold here is a list of the produce we have available to eat in January (we do buy stuff as well of course)
10th January 2010 vegetables to eat;

Spinach – outdoors and in the polytunnel
Carrot - outdoors and in the polytunnel
Beetroot (red and white) outdoors and in the polytunnel good tops to eat on indoor plants
Round seeded peas outdoors and in the polytunnel
Purple sprouting broccoli
Pak choi – polytunnel
Pot chrysanthemums
Tomatoes – greenhouse
Basil – greenhouse
Pumpkin seeds
Dry beans (for emergencies!)

In the freezer:
Tomatoes roasted – lots
Green beans


We still have good stocks of honey and we are getting at least 6 eggs a day and the (very) occasional cockerel to eat.

Potatoes and onions walnuts and almonds were finished by Christmas and we have just picked our last pepper from the greenhouse.
Next year we plan - more sweetcorn (for freezing) more onions and leeks, and potatoes - Iam sure we will think of other new crops as well in the long dark evenings poring over the seed catalogues!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Green Party Canditate for the coming election

The local Green Party voted last night to have me as the general election candidate for Clacton.  This is something I wanted as I am committed to airing issues which effect all of us such as
  • energy policy; creating jobs by boosting energy saving and micro generation in homes and businesses;
  • coastal defense (we are particularly vulnerable to sea level rise here in Tendring) 
  • Improving public transport -  which will boost the tourist industry here.
  • Taking Climate change and future fossil fuel shortages seriously
  • Improving infrastructure in deprived communities in Tendring
  • Expanding waste recycling to cover commercial waste (most waste is commercial waste!)
All that remains now is to start fund raising for my deposit!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy and Secure new year

A frosty start to 2010 focuses my mind as always on the small holding and how the plants are surviving the freeze - no badly as it happens the greenhouse has hit a plus 7degree minimum but the tomato plants are hanging on in there and the poly tunnel has stayed above freezing (just) and the tender plants (salads etc) are still ok.  The weather also makes me think about our energy supplies; our wood store is holding up well tho we are using a lot more just now with the central heating wood stove and the wood fired cooker being on all the time.  On the world energy front have a look at for interesting analysis and particularly at for a good page using  'The Matrix' (great film) as a prop.
Keep warm and have fun in 2010