Who said ‘The living is easy’?

| 30th June 2024
Summertime, and there’s so much to keep on top of!

We were all getting rather worried that this year would be a complete wash out, my last post was all about the ups and downs of the weather (umbrellas up and rain pouring down), now eventually our patience has been rewarded and – boom – Summer is here.

The veg patch is loving it! The soil has warmed up and little seeds that seemed dormant have unfurled underground revealing the beauty of nature at her finest. My absolute favourite are the selection of mixed lettuces grown together in one bed – not only are they a delight for the eyes but they taste amazing. If you imagine the journey that supermarket salad leaves take to get to your plate and then cut out however many days, plastic bags, lorries and chiller cabinets… It leaves you feeling pretty good as well.

 

Come on you Bees…

A big advantage of spring not being too dry is that there is enough moisture in the soil, and subsequently the plants, to be able to produce a good amount of nectar in their flowers. This is good news both for the bees and for pollination. Traditionally, there is good forage for London bees in May and July. However, June can be a bit scarce as the spring flowers have finished and the summer flowers haven’t really started yet.

I even got an alert from the National Bee Unit (part of Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)) that there had been reports of bees dying from starvation – calling all bee keepers to check on their hives. So I was surprised, and delighted, to discover that most of our bees have found all that they need to fill their hives and honey boxes to the brim.

I’ve harvested some early spring honey from two hives and will take off the main crop in August.

 

Al fresco is such a delight

There really is something special about eating outdoors, be that a full on BBQ or simply your morning coffee. This year I have been planning this little centre piece of mixed basil plants either side of a strawberry pot. They are nestled inside an old wine box with small pebbles filling the gaps. It’s important to keep watering them, but it’s worth the effort for the freshness they bring.

 

The wheat is neat

I’ve been taking regular photos of our wheat ‘field’ since we first sowed the seeds on 12th April and it’s been so encouraging to watch it grow from tiny sprouts to the first full ears of grain.  We now want the seeds to swell and ripen in the sunshine. I don’t expect to harvest it until September, but now that it’s ACTUALLY happening – I’d better start researching the next stages so that we can attempt to transform it into a lovely loaf of bread.

 

 

Coming up at Hen Corner:

Wednesday 3rd July Introduction to Making Bread

Wednesday 24th July Introduction To Scandinavian Baking

Tuesday 30th July Bees For Children (Family Course)

Thursday 8th August Where Does My Food Come From? (Family Course)

Saturday 17th August Full Day Bee Keeping 

Wednesday 21st August Introduction To Making Cheese

Don’t forget – if you’ve been on a course before, email for your 20% discount!

Other news:
  • Last summer we were keeping nine colonies, in March we were down to two, now we are up to eight! – find out more on our upcoming Bee Keeping courses
  • The sugar snap peas that we sowed in March were amazing, too gorgeous to cook, so we threw a handful into every salad for extra crunch
  • We’ve got loads of tiny bunches of grapes on the vine, I must trim back some leaves soon so they can ripen in the sun.
Jobs for the week:
  • Get all my seedlings into the ground and plan a watering schedule
  • Move a smaller colony of bees into a bigger hive allowing them space to grow
  • Pot up the first jars of this year’s spring honey!

I’m planning to slow down a bit into a holiday-vibe rhythm so that I can enjoy the fruits of my labour before harvest time and preserving comes around…

Enjoy the sun!

Sara

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3 comments

iamthesunking 1st July 2024 at 9:31 am

I want to see a photo of you running through the wheat field à la Theresa May!

Reply
Sara Ward 1st July 2024 at 10:46 am

Cheeky!!!

Reply
iamthesunking 1st July 2024 at 10:49 am

So … that’s not a “no” …?

Reply

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