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Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Our Terraces part III

Sunday, as you may have gathered from my 2 last posts was pretty much a write-off, raining all day. Monday morning the rain held off long enough to plant out the last of the tomatoes (we’ve got 41 plants in total, not counting the ones that seem to have sown themselves out on our compost, which is now spread amongst the courgettes), weed amongst the peas and nipping some bamboo shoots in the bud (or should that be butt?).

Today rain was threatening all day, but never materialised at all. So we got a good days work in, in ideal condition: not too warm, not too cold, nice damp soil for sowing and transplanting; didn’t even need to water things in. Susan started off with sowing cayenne chillies into the poly-tunnel, which previously held the volleyball-size radishes (we thought we’d eat them before they reach basketball-size…). She went on to sow more radishes and a mixture of lettuces next to one of the pea beds. I, in the meantime, sowed out dwarf runner beans (can’t be bothered with building great support systems), together with some savoury. Those two don’t only go together on the plate, they also make excellent companion plants, so much so that the Germans call it Bohnenkraut, bean… well you all know what a ‘kraut’ is.

After that I got on with transplanting some peppers out and some gherkins. I am absolutely addicted to pickled gherkins and I don’t know why I have never tried growing any (they don’t come pickled on the plant obviously, you have to do that bit yourself). Susan meanwhile got on with some vigorous digging on the terrace below (terrace 16, for those who follow the series; bet you can’t wait for that episode). Oh and of course I sowed out some basil on the rows between the tomatoes. Another good companion plant combination as well as working well together in culinary terms. Funny the way that happens, if it tastes good together it will be mutually beneficial if grown close together.

Oh and I almost forgot, I also secured the end of the potato terrace, which had experienced a bit of a landslide after some of the torrential winter rains we’ve been having. I now have an exceptionally deeply dug level bed between the last olive tree and a fledgling fig tree. I intended to sow some artichokes out on there. I only just read though, that the seeds should be soaked in water for a couple of days before planting, so it’ll be done day after tomorrow now.

And now for part III of the series ‘OUR TERRACES’!

Terrace 5 is what you could call our living room. At the very near end is a mature apple tree. On the slope on the right we planted a little herb garden with rosemary, sage, thyme, oregano, marjoram and chives. The table is made from a solid marble slab, which we found pretty much where it is now. The barbecue has seen action this year already, when (for complex reasons I don’t want to go into at the moment) our freezer was temporarily out of service, and we had to use up all the meat stored therein quickly.

The structure, well disguised under a giant, man-eating ivy, is what currently goes as our shed. It does not cease to amaze me that it’s still standing and holding off some rain. However, it is doomed for destruction. We are busy scouring all rubbish tips for scrap material for a new and larger one. We’ve designated the area behind the current shed, so we can start building before tearing the old one down and then not knowing where to store all the tools in the meantime. It’s new location will be between a plum and a pear tree.
Terrace 6 is where our water barrel lives (which, if it isn’t raining, gets filled up from the tap on the terrace above, I failed to mention). It is also home to a very large and rather useless olive tree. It is so tall, that you would need a 30 foot ladder to pick its olives. I haven’t dared chop it down yet either and turn it to firewood, because olive wood is bl***y heavy, and a ton of olive tree falling you’re not sure in which direction is no joking matter. In the back there is a sickly peach tree and a sickly pear tree and a bed with currently, hmm can’t quite remember, weeds? No some lettuces I think and some Swiss chard, plus some cabbages, which aren’t showing anything yet.


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