The continuing good weather has meant that it was possible for another full day of work on the vegetable garden in a last gasp attempt to catch up on some of the time has been lost due to bad weather earlier this season.
Another large patch of the field was this morning dug over by hand and green bean seeds planted. Next to them in a more shaded area some small celery and parsley were also planted.
As part of the downsizing not all of the plants are going to be protected by the electric fence.
So how is this downsizing?
One of the most boring jobs which has to be done daily is to clear any grass or weeds which grow seemingly overnight along the perimeter of the two fields directly under the lower wire of the electric fence. Only one small blade of grass touching that wire is enough to short it out and make the whole perimeter no longer secure.
So this year having the electric fence protecting just half of the field means half of the work. All that was needed was just to think a little more deeply on which plants were liable to be eaten by the animals and which ones are more likely to be left alone. Obviously the ones in danger, like the potatoes and the maize need 24 hour protection but when was the last time that you saw basilico or chard or beets or zucchini being chewed on by rabbits, deer, wild boar or porcupines?
OK, I am not sure either so maybe this is another of those “let’s try it and see” theories which may or may not work. I planted 50 onion plants outside of the electric fence as well – will they survive ?. Watch this space.
A good part of the morning was taken up with constructing a supporting wall for the tomato plants using the bamboo poles from last year. Aesthetically it does not look as pleasing as last year as the bamboo is by now a dull grey colour but the bamboo does still seem to be strong enough for the task. Maybe there is some other reason that I am not aware of as to why people cut down and use fresh bamboo each year. Could it be because of the ants which now live in the old bamboo?
I spent the second half of the day sorting out the water supply.
There is a small stream which passes by the side of the two fields and except in the very driest of summers can supply enough water to irrigate both fields.
The main problem is how to get the water from the stream onto the fields. This is partially solved with a very long hosepipe which snakes up the hillside following the stream to a small pool under a bridge where there is enough water to set up a siphon.
No easy job to get that siphon working as it involves filling up a hosepipe with water, putting one end in the pool and rushing down the hill like a madman with the other end of the hosepipe and throwing it down into the next field, where if everything worked, gravity will pull the water through the pipe and hey presto the siphon is working.
As you can imagine, this does not happen every time and so the hosepipe has to be dragged back up the hill, refilled with water and the whole process repeated until finally, with a good deal of luck, the water is running.
A couple of thousand litre containers, brought specially onto the project a couple of years ago thanks to some good friends up at Tiglio are the next object in the water chain.
These are filled up with the hosepipe and then water from there can be sent where it is needed most.
The added advantage of using the containers is that it gives the chance for the water temperature to rise during the day before it is put onto the field. Young seedlings and plants therefore escape the cold shock of mountain stream water sprayed directly on them.