Saturday 3 May 2014

Spring 2014

With work on the house build delayed for a number of reasons, and the Easter break (which is taken very seriously here in Crete from both the religious and family reunion perspective with an extended mix of church bells/services, bonfires, fireworks/gunshots and long family meals of barbequed lamb), plus the current Mayday weekend celebrations, I decided a few photos of the snow, plot and patio would not go amiss.

With not much snow over the winter there are concerns being raised that in the peak season (July/August) there may well be water shortages in the popular tourist areas. We shall see. On the plot whilst the maximum water flow from the spring seemed to be in May last year I was pleased to note that it ran continuously throughout the year, albeit at a much reduced rate by the time the Autumn rains arrived. I estimated that even at this slow rate there would be sufficient daily throughput for our household needs. Our storage tank is currently full and with my regular visits to the site I am slowly t ensuring that any surplus is stored in the soil and not just forming a stream that then runs through the site.

The fresh green growth on many areas of the plot is inspiring me to try and make a start on the food forest planting in the Autumn/Winter this year but some practicalities e.g. installing an additional water storage tank, repairing the existing one which has a slow but persistent leak, setting up a watering system for the areas to be planted plus some minor landscaping of parts of the site, water retaining earthworks all around the steep sloping site and the rebuilding of the dry stone retaining walls that have been damaged over the years by the marauding mountain sheep.  In addition, of course to getting the house functioning, fitting out the kitchens and bathrooms, installing, at the minimum, the wood fired cooking stove before the Autumn (the masonary stove may have to wait until next year) and moving all the "stuff" (including my large collection on recycled materials and patio herb garden)  that I have accumulated in our rented apartment over the last 2 - 3 years. Seems I will be busy!!

With the progress on the house over the winter months raising our hopes that we really should have something that is habitable by the Autumn/Winter this year I decided to consolidate my efforts on the patio to keeping us supplied with a herbs and salad greens throughout the year. A learning point from last year's efforts was that I tried to do too many different things, including a hedge of local basil for privacy! So out goes the hedge and in comes, after my previous success with herb towers from recycled materials, the  creation of  two large herb towers in the recycled wine barrel halves. These I stocked with the plants I raised from seed last year, which had overwintered well in the mild climate, and immediately became established in the spring sunshine and showers.

With the scaling down of my growing efforts the patio has now returned to a fully functioning sitting, eating and drying washing area surrounded by a lovely mix of herbs. So much so that I have been prompted to purchase a couple of comfortable chairs to enjoy the early morning sun and, in particular, the shade in the hottest part of the day. Should I get an opportunity to do so!!

Not much snow this year means there maybe problems with water supply later.

Looking down to the bottom corner of the plot.

The slope is not an exaggeration!!

Site for start of food forest planting hopefully this autumn/winter.

Newly constructed herb "tower" stacked with overwintered plants.

The other "tower" with the lemon balm doing particularly well.

The lovely pale greens of the vines as they come into leaf.

A friend visits the chive flowers.