Summer (After Skye)

DSC00044   Summer? At Last?
   Just got back from a week of superb weather on the Isle of Skye. Never been before, but would heartily recommend it.
   Back home, back to the plots; seems like the weather was poor here last week – but suddenly the temperatures have gone up and summer type weather is with us.
   Was seriously tempted, while combing a beautifully sunlit rock and shingle beach for driftwood to burn in the wood burner (really not necessary but it was an adventure anyway) in the sumptuous accommodation we      had, to bring a couple of sackfuls of dried seaweed back. But thought of the smell in the car over a seven-plus hour journey home and the possibility it would be contaminated (sadly) with other pollutants such as oil and decided against it. Anyway, really not sure how to use it on the allotment anyway. Any ideas (for a possible next time? Let me know please.)
So- two days steady slog. Clearing weeds. Gotta love weeds: when it’s too cold/wet for anything else – the weeds take over. Like some H.G. Wells or H.P. Lovecraft monsters. “they have glue …” I can almost hear my Romanian friend saying. There’s no arguing with that eh? But parting some of the longer grasses in the fence border I am amazed by the number of young gooseberries hanging like pale green jewels. I love gooseberries, so this is a good sign. Plum and damson trees seem to have small fruit developing and there is lots of rosy-centred white blossom on the apple and pear trees.
Clearing the three paths that serve the plots. We will be taking part in an open gardens scheme that raises money for charity in a couple of weeks and, while it needs to be business as allotment-usual, none of us wants to have our grounds in poor/untidy condition if we are having visitors. Know what I mean?
And then clearing the potato “volunteers” that have self set and are rampant, only not where they’re supposed to be. I can never work out how we left so many in the ground. A bit of hoeing. Good to do this in warmer weather, the heat kills of the weeds faster once they have been separated from their roots.
Then planting out. The legions of seedlings that we started off in the greenhouse. Hat over ran the greenhouse. Cabbages, lettuce, runner beans (bit of a failure here. We planted over forty but only ten have germinated), French beans, onions. The onions planted last autumn have picked and are looking decidedly smug: here’s hoping we can avoid the onion fly that affected the site last year.
Then more weed clearing and raised bed repairs. The route of the path has changed and we can extend by about a foot, but need to put something in to hold the slabs (path) in place. The ground on our allotments is somewhat lower than the path is now (the width of slab plus bedding). And allotment construction is a thing of Heath-Robinson/MacGyver beauty. Timbers we have collected from skips, from the Cross-Fit box in Cannock, from neighbours all hoarded for just such an eventuality.
The hedge look gorgeous, dressed in fine spring-fresh leaves. Oak, hawthorn, blackberries, field maple and hazel. Raspberry canes look healthy, but the strawberry bed, having lapped up a dose of sulphate of potash is a sight for sore eyes, lots of flowers dazzling the eye with white searchlight flowers.
There are bees and cabbage whites on the wing and a ladybird cringes on the leaf of a chopped down dock. Cabbage white …? We scramble from our cups of tea and hastily erect a hoops and net cage over newly planted brassicas.
Summer’s here: nature catching up, this plot holder trying gamely.


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