“A Bit Late for That Mate?”

Plastic he? Where would we be without it ? This just caught my eye as I left the plot, shivering after some attemts to wrestle out raspberry canes and dismantle fruit cages.

Plastic eh? Where would we be without it ? This just caught my eye as I left the plot, shivering after some attempts to wrestle out raspberry canes and dismantle fruit cages. Startling colours – couldn’t resist the shot!

In the winter they take on a new life, when coated with frost. They were water dispenser bottles in a former life.

In the winter they take on a new life, when coated with frost. They were water dispenser bottles in a former life.

Seems to me blackberry brambles are becoming almost evergreen in that they seem to keep their leaves until spring time. Anybody else noticed this phenomenon?

Seems to me blackberry brambles are becoming almost evergreen in that they seem to keep their leaves until spring time. Anybody else noticed this phenomenon?

At long, long, long last managed to get all the ducks (no rain, football, shopping, visiting friends and relatives, blogging, did I mention the weather?) in order and, finally take the fruit cages down. In the way that things will always happen, we had been planning to build quasi-professional cages to protect our soft fruit, namely (yippee and thanks John, we also learned how to successfully take cuttings!), red and white currants. We tried several truly Heath-Robinson designs, all of which, rather unglamorously served a purpose, but became too small.
So we determined: splash out some cash – make semi-permanent structures to which we simply (in our dreams – of course) added netting at the appropriate times. Well we made it so far, but the corner connections were a little sloppy and I raided a skip (my thanks to a very understanding school caretaker) and got what, I hope, will be sufficient timbers to make a better one next year.
The plastic coated metal rods we bought this year can be used (in my master plan) as cross members. The incredible thing about gardening, for me, is that it is never really finished … and that is certainly the case with allotments.
But, back to the story … The black netting worked a treat, has been the envy of some of our neighbours and protected the fruit. But trying to take it up, with frost freezing the feeling out of reluctant fingers and the crust of frost in the top soil holding pegs tightly in the ground, was challenging. This followed by clown-handed attempts to roll the netting up into something that can be packed into the wooden storage box in the shed had me cursing and laughing at the same time – a little humour always helps. At the right time.
The cabbages are looking good and we have managed for the first time ever to grow turnips and swedes that actually look something like they should. Leeks are still in the ground, parsnips will taste sweeter after the frost has done something scientific to the sugars in the roots and the over-wintering onions seem to have just the right amount of initial growth.
The birds deserve a place in gardens and allotments. I am pleased to have nest boxes on the plot – and feed the garden birds with feeders at home – but produce is precious and I love the sharp taste of blackcurrants. Wood pigeons take most of the crops up at the allotments, whole swarms of them. My grandfather always talked of them as “rats with wings”. Easy now to see why.
I did also turn a few spits of soil, lifting whole top-frozen cubes of earth with a clean-bladed spade, but soon gave up, wandered the plots and took some snaps.

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