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14th May

Last week we had a really good spell of weather and got on well with the planting, We did have two days of pretty heavy rain but it came in through the night and the ground was braw and dry in the morning for the planting to start., that is perfect weather for getting the plants in they got a good watering through the night after planting, If we get that all year that would be fantastic.
So last week we managed to plant fifty thousand Red Onions, Fifty thousand white onions and twenty thousand early Leeks, In the tunnels we also managed to plant three thousand five hundred Celery and the same amount in Lettuce.
If we could just get out in the morning every day and get on the planter in the field we would get way more plants planted out in the field, but there is the harvesting in the morning and always a couple of wee jobs need done before we can get going.
One of the wee jobs Rab managed to get done one morning was to block of another five thousand Lettuce seeds, these we need to do every 2 to 3 weeks, the lettuce gets mixed in with the oriental salad leaves for the salad bags, this is one of the most footerie jobs going but well worth the effort, most years I buy a bag of already mixed seeds and direct sow them in the tunnel, but last year we had one of the variety of seeds in the mix that kept shooting, so we had to keep rotovating them in, so this year I have bought five different oriental varieties and have sown the individually so if one shoots I can leave it and keep going with the rest, they are Mizuna, wild Rocket, Red frills, Mustard green in snow(spicy), and Chinese mustard all mixed in with Lettuce leaves, we do have just plane lettuce available if you would prefer that to the salad leaves just let us know.
A couple of weeks ago I had been talking about trying to get away from using polythene in the fields for planting our Courgette and Pumpkins through, we can't grow them without planting them through that because the polythene generates a lot of heat to help them grow and we can keep the fleece over them till they are established plants.
After lots of googling I came across biodegradable mulch film, but for laying it on the field I needed a machine, which costs £5000, and the machine looks pretty simple, so I made one out of a old frame I had sitting around, a set of wheels and two pairs of skimming discs, and at the weekend I tried it out and it works fantastic, and will save about one weeks work laying polythene by hand not to mention no need for the use of polythene any more, I have posted a video of it in action on face book.
So after that working well, I decided it was time to build another machine more making the holes and a easier way for us planting the plants, I now have a old roller and have welded 4 metal squares on that when they are rolling round will punch holes in the mulch and earth and we are sitting behind the roller and we hopefully can then place a plant in each hole as we move along the field, this hasn't been tested yet but will be this week so I'll keep you up to date on that one.
If it does work it will save us having to walk down the field with a hand held tool punching twelve thousand holes, then on our hands and knees planting them.

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