With the thermometer hitting 18 degrees in the vineyard today, spring is definitely in the air. The daffodils and snowdrops are popping up left, right and centre and nature is waking up from her slumber. The last 2-3 weeks brought some much needed rain… yes much needed! Our part of the Emerald Isle has suffered almost drought conditions between September and January. That coupled with the well drained sandy soil at our location, meant it was positively dry with us. Here are a few snaps of growth spurting everywhere:
The goji berries were one of the first to sprout green bits. Hopefully they will flower and bear fruit for the first time this year.
The catkins on the willow are swelling fast.
The cherry plums are flowering for the first time this year promising fruit this year.
The wild primroses are just starting to blossom. Not only do they make a good ground cover and attract bees, they are of course also edible.
The josta berries and other currants are budding.
The artichokes and cardoons are looking good.
The fist rhubarb will soon be ready to harvest.
Fish are jumpin’… and frog spawn in the pond.
Now, if you think that the Permaferry is now a hive of activity with digging and sowing and weeding all going on, you would be wrong. We don’t like to over-exert ourselves here. We prefer to have nature do the work for us, whilst we spend probably 80% of our time quietly observing. For the sowing thing, we have just now made our third bunch of seed balls. The first involved a variety of tree seeds in the depth of winter. The second involved mostly salad crops, (including lettuces, fast growing brassica, raddishes, rocket and a few herbs) which we sowed out in the poly-tunnel and the keyhole bed. The ones in the poly-tunnel are already showing (it’s positively tropical in there!). Today I made seed balls from a variety of flowers, herbs and leafy greens, including borage, lemon balm, sunflowers, tagetes, nasturtium, marigolds, chard, chicory, caraway, quinoa, amaranth,
Once dry, in a week or so, I shall scatter them around the vineyard and food forest and leave them to their own devices. The next lot will likely be a mix of beans, peas, lentils, squash, corn, some more sunflower seeds and whatever else takes my fancy.
In other news, I was in Donegal yesterday to assist with the organising of the All Ireland Permaculture Gathering, which will take place at Lough Mardal Lodge in South Donegal from the 11th-13th August this year. The venue varies every year and every year a community garden is created at the site. This is as we made some so-called lazy beds on the very boggy site:
As we have pretty much given up digging except for planting the odd tree at the Permaferry, I wouldn’t particularly call these ‘lazy beds’, but hey, we made a start on the garden and the planning.
Happy spring everybody!