Sitting here on Saturday night, I can’t work out what to write. The same thing happened last Saturday.

I’ve been busy this whole time. Lots of things have been done and ticked off the To-Do list. But there’s not really any specific thing that deserves a whole post.

A lot of it has been life admin – and you don’t need a blog on how my car passed it’s Warrant of Fitness. What a bore that would be!

But I have managed to find time to get up to a few things in the garden. So here’s what I’ve been up to.

Planted potatoes

A couple of weeks ago, I was feeling off. There’s so much in the world to feel not-great about right now.

I find planting potatoes is a good activity when I’m feeling down. It’s a repetitive, future-focused job that ends with harvesting potatoes. What’s not to love?

I had prepared (read: weeded) a garden bed the week before – which let’s face it, is the hard part. And there were 3kg of Desiree potatoes which had been chitting away in the caravan that needed planting.

At first, the only thing I could motivate myself to do was to get out a paintbrush to paint and create a new gardening tool.

The "Spud Spacer".

I’d used something like this for our early crop, and it worked so well. But it needed a couple of tweaks. So I improved the design and gave it a name. It’s just part of an old pallet, and the spacing is at 20cm.

Once I had my new tool, I hauled out my potatoes, kneeling pad, and trowel; and I planted potatoes.

Maybe it was the 45 minutes I wasn’t witnessing global horrors on my pocket computer; or maybe it’s just that planting potatoes is actually magical – but I did feel at least a little better once I was done.

Moved my 150th load of mulch

In early September I started moving my metaphorical and literal obstacle of a mulch pile. It’s the first step to building a house here.

I initially committed to one wheelbarrow load each day, but I tend to average two or more.

Last week – after 67 days (8 of which I wasn’t even on the farm) – I hit my 150th wheelbarrow of mulch. And since then, I’ve climbed to 172.

There’s a highlight on my Instagram profile if you want to see a compilation of every single load.

The mulch pile - November 2023

The pile is still a monster, but I’m pretty sure I’m over half-way through now. I don’t know if I’ll get it finished before Christmas. But I’m chipping away at it consistently, and I am making progress.

In the meantime I’m listening to the Get It Right with Undercover Architect podcast while I work – little steps toward this build.

Planted sweetcorn

It’s a bit late in the season, but I sowed a packet of Early Marika F1 and Honey & Pearl F1. Hopefully they’ll do OK.

Some are planted as a bit of a trap crop for armyworm, some are planted in an armyworm safe-house we’ve constructed.

So I expect half to be entirely inedible. The other half are an experiment, and we’ll see how it goes.

Wrote 1500 words on biochar

Since starting up my Garden Club this year, I’ve had fun writing and researching my Deep Dives. These are in-depth studies on a range of gardening topics.

It means that this year I’ve almost written the equivalent of a gardening book! My Garden Club members vote on the topics. While I’m not getting rich this way, it does provide accountability to sit down and go in-depth into topics I might not have otherwise written.

My article on biochar will be available next week. There’s never been a better time to join us in the Garden Club.

This will be my eighth published Deep Dive, and I’ll be sending out member surveys before the end of the month to vote on my Summer topics.

Prepped for the peanuts

Right now it’s raining outside, and for once that makes me really happy.

Last week I weeded the garden bed I want to plant this season’s peanuts in. But the soil was rock-hard. Two weeks of no rain (after two years of almost non-stop rain) is really apparent.

The garden bed I'm planning to plant peanuts in, before weeding.
The garden bed I'm planning to plant peanuts in, after weeding and adding compost.

It needs organic matter before I can plant my peanuts. I spotted some really great looking fungal networks in the soil despite the dryness, so I didn’t want to turn it all over and ruin all that goodness.

Instead, I used a garden fork to just gently separate and aerate the soil. Then I added 90 litres of compost. I’m hoping this rain will help incorporate everything and make it a little easier to work with.

Peanuts need nice fluffy soils so the ‘pegs’ can penetrate the ground, and I’m going to need to get them planted really soon to give them enough time.

It’s blooming

The work here feels never-ending. Keeping things going can feel like a mammoth task. I work on the basis that a little bit every day gets the job done eventually.

A flower beginning on my Xeronema callistemon

And then I’ll be walking around and notice huge blackberries ripening, or my Xeronema callistemon (Poor Knight’s Lily) putting out a precious flower after 3 years of patiently waiting.

Things are growing and blooming all around us while I work to get the next round in the ground.

All these little jobs add up when viewed in the long run. Still, there’s always more to do, so I’ll just keep pottering on.