Catching Up: A Modern Curse?

Been a long and busy time since the last entry. A fine start to the planting season, soil cleared, hedge trimmed and paths laid: most of the to-do list done, and – inevitably -new tasks added.

The plot is looking good, potatoes in – hmmm, more-or-less-straight rows (never one of my strong points),earthed up. A row of peas, scattered thickly are up, sticks put in and netting around them. Broad beans fine, over-wintering onions doing well, lettuces planted out in the plot doing better than those kept in the greenhouse and radish and rhubarb being harvested and snacked on. Delicious. And rhubarb throwing out those large ruddy stalked umbrella leaves across the plot and path. Gooseberries suddenly hanging from spiny branches – fruitful despite – or because of neglect and harsh treatment.

Perlka put down (an experiment) and cabbages put in ten days later then netted over: anti-woodpigeon defences. The information is varied on Perlka: it has its champions, its own arcane science and its naysayers. But it is said to bring resistance to club root, provide fertiliser and lime. So worth a try. Watch this space.

We have found a new place to get horse manure and the compost heaps are warm and working. Some of it will go into the runner bean trenches.

The on-site shop is a real asset, stocking a wide range of quality items at seriously good prices and adding to the range. Most recently the shop was given some free seed potatoes, which were offered on at the same allotmenteer-friendly price. Though we didn’t think we had room I insisted and it sped up the clearing of a couch-grass infested area – to get a couple of rows of Pink Fir Apple in. The down-side is that I have to plan now exactly where to put the sweetcorn. It may mean clearing the old raspberry patch a little early, but those little potatoes, looking like baby fingers couldn’t be resisted.

After some early warm weather people are talking; making plans: allotments are a such marvellous cross generational communities, ideal  places for “putting the world to rights” (over a brew or leaning on a compost heap boundary) and swapping plants and ideas.

The weather changed this week. Why wouldn’t it? All the runes are cast: its school half term holidays, Bank Holiday and the cricket season is under way. Cooler and wetter (“intermittent showers” the weather forecaster said but I remember a pier-end comedian once saying “Showers; there’s one every twenty minutes that lasts for half an hour.”)

Seizing the chance we transplant some golden beetroot, lettuce and a few spare flowers. Rain means there is no need to water them in (I hope).

Catching up (“the modern curse”) on Facebook and social media I noticed a campaign “SayNotothe Mow” (or something similar. It’s about letting lawn grass grow a little longer, possible allowing wildflowers to have a space in the lawn. I know that hedgehogs benefit from grass that is around two inches tall and at home the couple of square metres of “wildflower meadow” (set up last year) in the lawn are not as prolific with wildflowers as I would have liked, so we’ve added a few corncockles, campions and a log pile, plus an upside down root ball from a crab apple that was taking up too much space. To me it looks something like a cross between the face of one of the Predators, from the film franchise (rather good films too) and an old English dragon (the ones called Worms that lived underground). Maybe it’ll be a talking point.


2 responses to this post.

  1. I am all for not mowing. The bees love the clover and buttercups. It does get mown every now and then, otherwise the blackbirds gets lost in it!


    • And, for all that it is a failure of the germination of the wildflower seeds, there is something marvellous about the non-lawn species of grasses.


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