The Marvellous Insanity

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There are jobs to be done.

That’s the marvellous insanity of the human race, but especially so if you are an allotmenteer.

We are in some desperate haste to get the potato crop in: there is blight on the site (is it not inevitable, given that crops have been grown there – and intensively for over a hundred years?), the weather is getting wetter, and we have insidious keel slugs that, given time damage every tuber without appearing above ground (like Satan’s unterseebooten waging a campaign to deny us Picassos and Arran Pilots).

But, before we can, realistically get the spuds in, we have to have somewhere to store ‘em.

The garage is proving a great storehouse (of anything other than a car, of course) but needs tidying out. Especially since we are expecting a bumper crop. Not all down to our potato-green-fingered skills but to the fact that the site shop seemed to have provided more seed potatoes than we think we had ordered – and we promptly planted the whole lot: a total of twenty one rows with at least eight seed potatoes in each row: you do the computations if you can. For me ‘tis fairly simple;

Twenty one times eight = stacks!

There’s gonna be a lot of space needed. Of course we have been digging and eating the earlies – and every root has been gorgeously loaded: quantity of tubers and size! All from ground that has had home-made compost incorporated over the years, a hand full of chicken-muck pellets and some proprietary potato fertiliser in each hole with a seed spud.

We also need to tidy out said garage in order to move anything through it; our access to the rear garden is via the garage you see. Oh and to find the paper bags (Malvern Wheat Flour, Acme Horse Nuts and Niger Seeds for Birds) to ultimately put the potatoes in.

But I also decide that, to rationalise things, we probably need a two decker assembly to stack up the filled bags: using half of the floor space and allowing air to circulate.

So, after literally dumping masses of no-longer needed text books and papers into the recycling bin, sweeping the concrete floor and sending photos to our daughters* I am out the back, figuring out how to convert pallets into the shelving needed.

It needs bracing, a number of nuts and bolts and is impressive when finished. Though I do have to take it to pieces to get it inside the garage. Note to self:

“Consider working where you are going to need the product in future.”

Meanwhile I am dropping some potato peelings into the wormery when another thought strikes me. The wormery has been a successful digression but, by rights should go back into the garage over winter. Low temperatures slow down the processes and might even kill off the very productive worms. We could do with keeping it outside the back door. So perhaps I could construct a box to insulate it?

Not unusually I begin looking for suitable sizes of wood as I am bolting the pallet decking together.

It takes three half day sessions to get the potatoes dug up and transported back home. I have a new car and am discouraged from carrying “dirty stuff” – though I am not sure how long this can be kept up. Sadly, inevitably perhaps some of the tubers are indeed blighted. That dreadful, ironically unearthly stink that comes with the decay.

Alan said up on site that we were making a big mistake putting them straight into bags. So, once home we reconsider and tip the bags out onto the garage floor to dry out: Alan’s advice, grimly given at times is always worth listening to.

And we definitely needed that extra space in the garage.



*prompting the inevitable responses: “Whose garage is that then?” and “you’ve been busy!”



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