Monday, 5 October 2015

Hairy nut drop

Morning all,

Fantastic autumnal mood at the moment, cool nights, misty mornings and sunshine slipping through the yellowing tree foliage. Looks more unsettled in the coming week but that’s ok, it is still right for the time of year. Autumn tasks are mounting up, a big tidy up of the wood stores to deter those pesky rats from setting up home this winter and keeping the fuel dry and neat at the same time. Yes, I love a nicely stacked pile, another level of reward on top of the oil saving and carbon neutral fuel source. It takes a bit of work to cut and stack it all, but a full and tidy wood store has a great feel good factor. Had a good start on the log cutting last weekend although only dented the target so far. Made really big strides this morning after a fortuitous conversation on Friday night when we were offered a huge stack of seasoned logs, just needed collecting, a bit of splitting and a final dry out. The van is now full and ready to unload, split and stack, I’ve got a lovely hickory shafted axe/splitter just perfct for that job, a great chance to wield my man tool and prepare for the winter. On top of all that, my nuts have dropped big time this week, a fantastic crop of cob nuts many of which are now in a crate drying off in the conservatory after a couple of hours on my hands and knees picking them out of the grass before the mice/squirrels/badgers or donkeys beat me to them. That should keep me entertained on those long winter evenings in front of the flickering log burner. That’s my basic hunter/gatherer instincts satisfied for another year, it does take must to keep me off the streets.

Potting on the nursery is just about done for another year, a couple of late potted crops to go which won’t get to us for a week or two. Getting stuck into a final tidy up of the last few tunnels of summer crops, then we can hit all those jobs we haven’t had time to do since last winter. We always have a long list of those but always seem to run out of time before the early spring sales get going and all thoughts turn back to potting and selling. One big job in the next week or so will be the tunnel recovering that ideally need to be completed while the temperatures are still warm enough. I thought we might get round to some of these last week after the weather forecast last weekend promised high pressure settled over the country for the whole week, but although it was a lovely week the wind was just too strong to unroll those huge sheets. We can get away with recovering in a very light breeze but if you get a stronger wind under a 150m x 11m sheet the power that sheet has to damage itself and anyone holding onto it is pretty impressive. You definitely don’t fight it and hold on, we’ve seen people lifted off their feet before now which is quite exciting. Live and learn! On a good day a team of four can cover at least a couple of tunnels, or more if the preparation is done before, but with nine currently sporting extra ventilation features we have quite a job on. There are a couple of regular lessons you pick up doing this particular task, after mastering when not to hold on to the sheet, one being that the wind speed may be non-existent when you start but the moment you unroll the sheet it will blow up to the point just short of giving up, and then, even if sheet looks really wrinkly after fixing, after a couple of days and nights of cooling and warming it will look fine. No worries.

Availability highlights

The ever popular dwarf violet/red Aster Jenny looks very neat now with the odd bud showing colour. Starlight is slightly more purple in tone but a really strong bright colour and neat habit. Lady in Blue budding nicely, nice and short with very pretty pale blue flowers now opening. Larger and intense purple heads of Purple Dome are just opening on the new crop of summer potted plants.

A few more Anemones coming back on the list again as we catch up again after a very busy summer. Helleborus are coming back on stream now as they gather their strength for their great winter display.

Absolutely stonking Ajugas in different foliage colours and forms. Fantastic ground cover and bursting with vigour. Just around the corner are the late flowering Hesperantha (Schizostylus) in a range of 4 varieties and autumn/winter flowering hardy Cyclamen. A couple appear on the list this week and hopefully a few more in the next two weeks.

Have a good one, from all at Kirton Farm Nurseries

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