Thursday, 3 December 2009


The oca was, as I expected, flattened by the frost a couple of days ago. it's a south American rootcrop which I haven't grown before, and which, you will have gathered, is frost-sensitive. I had wanted to fleece it, but I couldn't due to a bad cold.

You plant it in spring, about a foot apart, and let it get on with its business all season. Tubers start to develop as the daylength shortens, and you lift them a couple of weeks after the foliagfe dies completely back. I expect to have it for Christmas, if there's a crop there.

All the beehives are still alive. That's a pleasant change from last year. I think the difference is in the autumn weather. Two autumns ago, the weather was so vile that they couldn't go out and forage, and went through what stores they had. I got them through last winter on candy, but that's only carbohydrate. I think the lack of pollen led to malnutrition, hence the problems. There are artificial substitutes available, but they're only used as a stopgap, and aren't satisfactory for more than a few weeks. This year, they were bringing in lots of pollen, so hopefully they'll come through better. Hive 5 is a bit of a worry, with only two seams of bees, but the others all have four.

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