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Thursday, 22 May 2008

Frank and Me

At last we have a plough! Well I should call it by it's correct name a motor hoe, a plough would be too large to manoeuvre up and down our steep terraces. In Italian it's called a moto-zappa, so we decided to call it Frank, after the famous 70's rock-star Frank Moto... (Frank is the one fetchingly dressed in black and red). Tried him out today and what a difference! Dug over 2 large beds, that easily would have taken me 3 days to dig over by hand. First dug over a hard clayey bed and it went like butter through a hot knife. Curiously, I had enriched this particular terrace with some of our own compost. Now, I have been trying to grow melons from seed indoors without success. I have sown some seeds out outdoors and no ressult so far either. But at some stage last year we must have been eating melons and thrown the seeds on the compost and they have now come up! Well I let them if they are happy and carefully hoed around them. The other bed I dug over was the last of the broad beans which we harvested today in readiness for some cabbages to plant out soon.

Susan's brother is over this week, but the weather has been really wet and changeable until today. A real shame for them. Just a note to a couple of questions I have received concerning the last entry. I did spray the vines, potatoes, some of the fruit and tomatoes with Bordeaux Mixture. This is one of the oldest anti-fungal sprays known to agriculture and consists of a blend of copper sulphate and lime. Both are naturally occurring substances which are perfectly allowable even in organic farming, although used excessively may poison the soil. One of it's main features is that it clings to the plant even in wet weather, therefore protects them when they are most vulnerable to fungal attact. Last year I did not spray my early tomatoes and lost

most of the during late spring rainfalls. If spraying immediately before rain, dosages should be increased, however last week we may have escaped the worst of the rain.

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