Flags Over the Land!

After a decent bit of rain last week we have had another good couple of days on the plot!

Four rows of brassica plants put into the ground: two of Kilaton cabbage (nine plants in a row, about two feet apart), one of Greyhound and a single row of cauliflower. This has cleared an enormous space in the greenhouse and mini (plastic) greenhouse. The plants have been hardening off lodged on various bits of garden furniture in the back garden until this weekend. Now, suddenly the bench, table and paths are clear. I had a look at Little Dee’s planting; he explained to me that he plants his cabbages and then adds a circle of lime around each plant. Now we have had some of his surplus cabbages over the past couple of years: they are phenomenal. So we are trying the same trick (if trick it is). Our cabbages last year, sans the club root we have on site, were the best we have ever managed, so maybe we are getting the knack. Watch this space…

Image result for cabbage seedlings

Also put shallots in, cleared a great deal of space, burned a couple of fires worth of uprooted hedge and trimmed the grass paths. The longer grass under our plum trees has been cut down too. I do this with mixed emotions, realising that the long grass and associated plants are part of an eco-system that sustains and promotes wildlife diversity. We have a tireless pair of blue tits on a non-stop feeding-chicks delivery round at the front of our house nest box. They are collecting critters, often caterpillars, from here, there and everywhere (in competition I realised today for the first time with other parenting birds). This source of food depends perhaps on “headlands” like that one I have levelled today. Equally however we have a responsibility to keep the site tidy, not overgrown. Rules is rules – and we do have the hedgerow, two wildlife ponds and the wildflower section of the plot.

I was able to borrow, free of charge (good move by the committee, thank you), the site’s hedge trimmer and, after checking that no birds were nesting in our hedges, trim these back and down. This is a mixed hedge: some privet, hawthorn, lilac, ubiquitous briars, forsythia, field maple; with a laburnum and a young oak tree (grown from a Cannock Chase acorn) thrown in for good measure. It is thickening out now and – with the addition of mock orange, buddleia, gooseberry, blackcurrant, dog rose and jostaberry  – will add a wildlife element that is also functional and aesthetically pleasing.

All in all a very satisfying weekend, not least because the “middle” compost bin has been emptied, repaired (with reused timbers from a former shed) and is being loaded up. Thanks to our neighbour who is now letting us have her grass clippings it should soon begin to heat up and add another minibeasts refuge (though a robin has been a regular visitor to the heap when I have been taking the carpets and black-plastic sheeting off to add materials).

DSC_0024 DSC_0025

The committee has a new vice-chair and flying proudly above their on the plot yesterday was a New Zealand flag. Now I had thought it was a part of the Great War Legacy Garden project (flags perhaps of the nations involved in what would later become known as World War One).  But co-gardener on the plot and the Vice Chair’s son ( a very keen gardener who spends a lot of time industriously working the plot as well as generously helping other plot holders) told me , New Zealand is his favourite country: hence the flag.

Today a second flag has appeared on the plot: the red maple leaf of Canada. Why? I asked him.

“My sister’s favourite country,” he said, with a smile … “got to keep ‘em happy haven’t you?”

Well, it certainly brings colour and movement to the site when the wind is strong. I am put in mind of kites.

Image: cabbage seedling: rhs.org

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