Generally Mild …

It’s not necessary to be surprised by the weather. It is what it is and it does what it does. Of course … but winter so far has been mild. Very few frosts in this middle-of-England part of the world. Frosts that are supposed to come along, weather down the roughly winter-dug soil and kill off any germinating weed seeds.

But we have had – generally – wet and mild conditions since October. So far.

Burning day today and I had built up a pile of debris to be burned. Split plant pots, one-too-many seasons pea-sticks, tangled string, weeds that I rooted out over the past four weeks and raspberry canes. I was determined to have a go at burning them today, after an unintentional lie in.

Took some timber from home, firelighters and a box of extra long matches. It’s an allotment right, so there was an hour or so putting the new-year world to rights with other plot holders; inevitably perhaps. But the skies remained clear blue and a drying wind rode across the plots.

Perfect for burning: once the fire was going. A lot of smoke while I was digging around the burning mass, loving that fizz and crackle of burning raspberry canes and the orange flames that suddenly leap across the face of the pile.

Cut a couple of cabbages, a bit of general  tidying up; realising I am going to have to dig over again my earliest digging: healthy coloured soil simply covered with freshly germinated weed seedlings like groundsel and chickweed. No worries, it’ll be easier this time round.

But then the clouds closed in and it started to rain. I forked the remaining, smoking pieces of fire into the pick-punctured oil drum, put a metal cover, salvaged from a lawn mower over the top of it and, locking the shed (which also needs tidying up) headed for home.

Quite a few gardening programmes on TV at the moment: Great British Garden Revival and a second series of the Allotment Challenge. Like the first one, good magazine format, but don’t recognise the second as “allotment”. I imagine that there will be people watching on TV who might be inspired to take on an allotment, but are not prepared for the challenges that will face them if, or when they take the plunge.

Allotments need new members, need the interest generated by such programmes in order to continue to evolve. But that programme makes it seem far less labour intensive than it really is.

It’ll be what is traditionally called “rent collection” here soon (last two weeks of February) and by then we should have collected the seeds we ordered (bulk buying means we make savings), including potatoes and onions.

On the plot the over wintering onions are shooting green and tall already. So are the broad beans. A last few carrots, grown in an old metal dustbin remain to be harvested: they were tasty with our Christmas dinner and surprised us by how long they have kept in the ground.

Later, I’m sitting upstairs in what was one of our daughter’s bedrooms (both still known fondly as so-and-so’s room). I’m reading. Away from a TV programme downstairs and the small room with the computer in it. The book? His for hawk by Helen MacDonald. Bought it with a Christmas gift book token (along with two others: Station Eleven ( by Emily St John Mantel) and the Bees ( Laline Paull)). I am disturbed, then reassured by the tiny plopping sounds of the demi-johns of wine brewing on the window ledge. They have been dormant for some time – no fermentation, but in the warmth, seem to have revived. The strawberry we bottled and have been consuming over Christmas was delicious.

Now, it’s only January, so plenty of time for cold weather to wipe out the slugs and weeds. Because it surely can’t be this mild until spring, surely?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

The Good Life Crewe

Adventures in the life of an English allotment


Garden Blog of the Year 2016

Allotment Life

Welcome to my world: digging, harvesting and other stuff

How to Provide

for your family

Crockern Farm

The evolution of an old farmhouse, an American woman, an Englishman and their dog.

Green lights ahead

If you could go anywhere you wanted, where would you be headed right now?


boots of salt and plow blades


blowing through the cobwebs of my mind

Milenanik3's Blog

Just another weblog

Karina Pinella

Writing the Wrong, Right, and Ridiculous

tea & paper

... it's all about feelings ...


Life after the Care Farm

The Cynical Gardener

The most Dangerous plant to sleep under is the water lilly


Local History for Great Wyrley and Surrounding Areas

The Renegade Press

Tales from the mouth of a wolf

lone sea-breaker

introspection & reflection, poetry & prose

%d bloggers like this: