Thursday, 8 April 2010

Butterflies, frogs, spuds and Mare's Tail

For the second post of today many more firsts have been spotted as I spent the day outside. There were good and bad firsts, the bad was the first sign of the dreaded Mare's Tail poking through in Mother's vegetable garden as she was planting her spuds. Although spuds traditionally go in at Easter she stuck her elbow in the soil on Easter Sunday and decided it was too cold, so waited till today. Hopefully we've seen the last of the frosts.

(To see the images full size, just click on them) I am determined to find a use for Mare's Tail as it looks as if you should be able to eat the fertile stems, which emerge first, have spores on the tips and look like a cross between a fungus and asparagus, but so far I have only found a recipe for fungicide:
Biodynamic growers use horsetail tea to strengthen plants' resistance to fungal infections. Take ¾ oz dried horsetails and simmer for 30 minutes in 2 pints of rain water. Stand for 24 hours. Make up to 1 gallon, stirring the mixture for about 15 minutes. This mixture will keep for a couple of weeks. Spray the plants thoroughly every 10-14 days, starting early in the season. The later sprayings can be more dilute (making the solution up to as much as 10 gallons) but should always have a pale yellow-green or brown colour and smell of horsetails. Thanks to 

The Willow has burst its bud today and the silver birch pollen is thick, according to Michael Fisher the bees are very pleased with this development. He also had the roof of the Frogeye down for the first time, which means it is definitely springtime! The first Peacock butterfly was out and about foraging amongst the primroses and the first of the cowslips, but I didn't manage to catch it on camera because the dogs were chasing mice and disturbing it.

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