Gosh, it's a while since I've done a monthly 'in the garden' post. The last one was October, in a very different garden.
After a lot of snow, and a bit of being very overwhelmed, things are progressing nicely in our new garden.
Both greenhouses are full, and I've even started planting things outside.
We've had our first harvest too - just pea shoots and lettuce, and some tiny unintentional potatoes we found in a planter.
The next couple of months should be exciting. In the big greenhouse in pots we have tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce, basil, coriander, and some climbing French beans that I'll plant outside at the weekend.
Already outside we have some mystery beans, an an assortment of summer and winter squash and courgettes (the labels faded and they all look the same at the minute).
And in the small greenhouse, which is an ongoing production line of things moving from smaller to bigger pots, we have more squash, more cucumbers, more tomatoes, plus kale, cabbage, cauliflower, rainbow chard, and beetroot.
It won't all survive of course. I've already lost one batch of kale, and all of my spinach, and I didn't repot the chard in time so it's tiny. Some of my tomatoes are still the size of matchsticks because they haven't been repotted, and at this point I think they might have to be consigned to the compost (who needs 18 tomato plants and 20 cucumber plants anyway?) I do hate throwing things away though.
My main garden success at the minute is the compost.
This unpicturesque mess is actually a thriving compost making machine. The giant pile of hay was in one of the outbuildings, and is slowly being added to the compost. The left bay has a mix of hay, fresh grass, and free horse manure that someone was giving away in bags at the side of the road. The middle bay is where I'm mixing stuff from the left and the right to give it all a bit more air.
And, to my surprise and delight, the right hand bay has actually rotted down into lovely, luscious compost.
I genuinely wasn't expecting that. I was just turning both end bays into the middle one to mix them, and the bin we put our food waste in had barely any food waste left.
Pretty impressive, given that I didn't build the bins at all til late March. Clearly I've just hit on the right mix of vegetable peelings, apple cores, coffee grindings, and old hay.
Whatever it is, I'm ever so grateful, and now adding some of my own home made compost to the bottom of the big tubs I'm planting tomatoes and cucumbers in.
In other kind-of-garden news, our cows are still here, and apparently have another couple of weeks before they give birth.
We're getting rather fond of them as time goes on. Yesterday we noticed their water trough (filled from the spring) was empty, so we rang the farmer and he came and fitted a new trough filled from the water mains.
My current favourite part of the garden isn't growing at all though.
This is a metal swing seat that we acquired from someone who was throwing it away, and I love it. It looks ridiculous with that blanket over the top of course, but I assure you it's quite necessary to cast a bit of shade in all this heat we've been having. I'm spending rather a lot of time out there at the minute, staring idly at the scenery (and the cows).
And as we have flowers in abundance at the minute, I've even been bringing a few indoors when we have visitors.
Most jolly. I do love flowers in the house, and these roses, which are growing right by the back door, are so very fragrant they make the whole room smell.
So there we are, a snapshot of the garden in June. This has been fun, and I'll try to remember to do it every month from now on. It's already good to look back on how things have progressed in the four months since we moved here (four months, already?)
Last week our cows arrived. We're very excited.
Of course, they aren't actually ours - they're on loan from the local dairy farm as lawnmowers. Apparently they're 'dry cows', eight months pregnant (not for the first time), and just lounging around in the fields waiting for their calves to arrive.
I know pretty much nothing about cows, and am drinking in every little bit of information the farmers are willing to give me. This week I've learned that cows are pregnant for roughly the same time as humans (who knew?), that they won't eat buttercups because they're too bitter, that before they give birth they have sixty days of rest from milking, and that the price the dairy will pay the farmers for milk fluctuates throughout the year.
Sometimes the depths of my ignorance knows no bounds.
Yesterday the farmer dropped by with his young daughter, and I followed them into the fields to check on the ladies. They're surprisingly nimble considering their size, and wouldn't let us anywhere near them.
The young girl was telling me about her pets, and when I said I didn't have any, she said 'well you've got these cows now!' Excellent - I now feel fully justified in giving them names and posting pictures of them on the internet. (Not that we've actually given them names yet...)
For some reason I assumed cows would stay in one field until they'd munched all the grass and then wander to the next, but they don't do anything of the sort, they seem to wander about on a whim, sleeping first in one field, and then in another.
When you think about it, why would they see the fields as separate spaces? Those walls are our boundaries after all, and while they'll keep a cow out, if the gate is open, why wouldn't it go through?
After all, the grass might be greener over there.
We should have calves in around three weeks, and I'm told I won't need to have any involvement in the birthing process, although I'm keeping a close eye out and have the farmer's number just in case. I do feel partly responsible for them (even though technically I'm not at all) and can't help worrying just a little bit.
The cows, of course, have been through it all before and aren't showing the slightest bit of worry.
Sit down and make yourself comfortable. I'm Jenni, and I write here about our new forray into country living, which includes growing food, knitting, baking, wandering around the fields, and seeing which local cafe serves the best cake.