Big Worms, Bumble Bees and Boiling Water.

So, finally we have a warm snap. A couple of windy days that blew the TV aerial off the chimney (post and all) then scraped it back and forth over the tiles all night making sleep , hmmm what’s a good word … fitful? (Too tired to think maybe?). All fixed now, used the Best of Cannock web-site to find a tradesman who was happy to crab about on the roof in a very convincing professional manner in some fairly high winds. So a night of blessed sleep last night, well, at least no TV aerial Alfred Hitchcock background accompaniment.

So, some serious time up on the plot, with all regular seed sowing having been done in the un-heated greenhouse and stacked up on improvised shelves and staging, because it needs to be done and outside has not been an option … we’ll catch up at some point (honest). And finally able to start turning over the “old” Autumn fruiting raspberry area.  Being raspberries it has, in the nature of these beasts spread itself, so turning the ground over is a real task! The roots run and tunnel and twist and defy my distinctly average efforts: perhaps resistance isn’t useless after all I can almost hear them (the underground movement whispering).

Because the ground has not been dug for five years the soil is heavily compacted, but down there are some of the biggest, healthiest looking earthworms I have seen for some time. Not to be confused with the tiger worms (plenty of those too) in the wood chip heaps we have used to re-mulch our blackcurrant beds and orchard. Rescued handfuls of these little “energy snakes” and reinvested them in the growing compost heap. The turf covering and few wisps (so far!) of “squitch” (couch) grass will have to be dug over again – this is clearly a marathon, not a sprint!

The air was also filled with the occasional heavy-plane sound of a huge bumble bee navigating the paths and stopping by the “wildflower station” – sorry, nothing flowering there yet, before heading back to what I am guessing is her nest in the hedge bottom. Not much evidence of honey bees yet, but then again there’s little for them to visit for food: very few flowers. Even the spread-like-wildfire forget me nots are only just starting to bloom: lovely simple flowers but invariably not in the right place. As for forgetting them ?

Dug the runner bean trench and filled it with well-rotted manure. This being a one hundred plus plot allotment, others are at different stages. Dave has his runner beans already sprouting and his runner bean frames up and secured: bamboo wig-wams. Steph has the top ends of her whole row frames wider apart than the bases, an engineering marvel – and seeds ready to plant direct into the ground. We go for two double rows, successional planting and bamboo and hazel frame, tips together and a ridge pole to bind the whole together.

The sun was warm and the digging and carting hard but pleasant work. I saved some of the plants, we are having a fund-raising event tomorrow to raise money for the West Midlands Air Ambulance. We are combining this seed/plant/equipment swap with a tea (or coffee) and cake get together. I am, once again, in charge of the brazier, so, looking forward to that one! I have also cleaned out the home pond and will be taking some elodea oxygenating weed up the swap – in case. It grows like crazy, but having taken it out of the pond I was surprised by how clear the water is … suddenly we can see the fish! The other big step forward is getting the gas burner up to the shed for the first time ever, so as to be able to brew our own drinks up there, rather than keep “doing a flask”. Think it’s a step forward, but it’s the logistics of sugar, water, washing up ….


20th April, 2013



One response to this post.

  1. Phew…..I need to put my feet up and have a cuppa after reading this post. Keep us informed as summer unfolds. Sounds very satisfying ….and possibly… exhausting.


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