Progress and Visitors

Things are all go up at the allotment again.

We have been putting in some solid days and making solid progress. I refused to panic and rush to get the potatoes into the ground. It simply felt that the ground was too damp and too cold. But over the past two weeks, a few rows at a time we have been dropping them – and potato fertiliser into the soil, while the frosts have continued. Other plot holders are hopping around, needing to earth the emerging shoots up, while ours, if they are still healthy, have yet to emerge.

Our greenhouse shelves, floor and all spaces available are heaped with seedlings awaiting transplanting, having been pricked on already. Onions (red and yellow), courgettes, peppers, leeks, cabbage, cauliflower, a new plant called Brokali and various flowers (Cosmos and French marigold – super companion plant).

Bumble bees have been raiding the plum and damson blossom and there are the open tapestry-stitch flowers on the dessert pear. The various apples yet to open any blossom.

The repaired hedge is productive and thickening out nicely now: pea sticks from the hazels and willow in there.

And the hedgerow fruit, gooseberry, Jostaberry and thornless blackberry are massing up finely. We added sulphate of potash to the strawberry beds to boost the flower and fruit production (if I got it right that is).

However while digging I was forced into the shed to shelter from a hailstorm (pictures available at

https://mucktwineandthinker.wordpress.com/2016/05/01/weather-changeable/ ). I not only had to back away from the door, but actually close it so forcefully was the tiny pellets of ice being driven across the ground. But, immediately after the sun came out and a pair of robins visited – time and again -and pillaged the raked over soil for grubs. They seemed to be using the hedgerow path to come on to the ground and the opposite path for the return flights: a redbreast one-way system.

 

A scrounged bath we had tried to use as a raised bed was emptied of soil and moved, prior to taking it up to the tip. But, on shifting it we discovered a host of amphibians nestled beneath it: two common toads, a large frog and a newt. The discovery reminded me of how freely we wandered the countryside farmland as kids, catching these critters in jam jars. Now some newt species are on the UK Endangered Species List. I think this was a young great crested newt, but seeking confirmation, and wanting to do my bit for conservation, having taken a couple of photos I sent them to the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust.

DSC03273DSC03272

 

Can anybody out there advise me?

Confirm my identification?

Is a license necessary to handle newts these days?

Should any other authorities be notified?

We saw some on the plot a couple of years ago – and, clearly they are stil here. Using the wildlife friendly ponds I believe to reproduce and benefiting from the organic methods we employ and the burgeoning hedgerow.

Felt really proud to have them on the plot!

 

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4 responses to this post.

  1. What a day! I think it is only great crested newts that are protected, but I’m not sure on that: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/great-crested-newts-protection-surveys-and-licences

    Reply

  2. well written

    Reply

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