Strip 3 – done!

17 Sep

I’ve got so much to sort out at the moment. Training at work, schemes of work for my new classes and I am trying to launch my new career as a mindfulness teacher on top of the usual mayhem of kids, chores and social stuff. So going to the allotment now feels a bit of a guilty pleasure and as for writing this blog – I really don’t have time but I am slightly addicted!

I arrived bright and early at the plot this morning, straight after drop off and peeled back the last bit of strip 3 to be dug.

Strip 3

The last uncultivated bit of strip 3!

It was weedy and undulating but very easy to dig. More weed roots needed clearing than the other half and I lost count of the broken shards of glass I had to pull out along with metal bolts and tent pegs. With the exception of a conversation with a plot neighbour about tomato blight, I worked solidly on it for more than two hours feeling pleasantly surprised when I realised I was going to finish the job today.

Strip 3 done

Strip 3 done!

It was with a huge sense of achievement that, after hoeing it down and sprinkling more organic poultry manure on it, I covered it back over knowing it is as good as ready for next season.

Sadly during the dig I discovered that having a big sheet of membrane in situ for months means lots of creatures had made their homes beneath it and my digging disrupted their lives. I feel no great shame at the snails and slugs that I threw onto the dump but on Thursday I saw a terrified twitching field mouse fleeing for it’s life. Today I discovered it’s straw filled little nest and hoped it had found a nice new home. When I’d told the kids about this mouse sighting they both looked worried and one asked if I’d put it in the slug trap. Today I also spotted a slow worm and possibly its eggs. Sadly the fork (and me wielding it) had chopped it’s tail off, it slid off bleeding. I hope it survives but I was filled with the feeling that gardening can be a harsh business for wild creatures.

Once the heavy digging was done I picked some tomatoes and then in the interests of science I decided I would try the latest tip I’ve heard for making them go from green to red – putting them in a paper bag with some already ripe tomatoes and leaving them for a week. The key here is not to put them in the fridge but leave them at room temperature.

strip 3 green toms in bag

Let’s see how they look next week!

Back at home I checked out the winter stores – I have a lot of very small potatoes left (I have used all the big ones already) and I have a whole drawer of shallots. OK it will probably only shave off a couple of quid from the weekly shop but I feel more confident I will doggedly get back all the money – £300 at the last approximation – we have so far sunk into this growing your own veg lark. It just might take me into my retirement to do it. I am hoping there will be a lot less heavy digging to do by that stage!

strip 3 winter store

Shallots and small spuds a plenty.


2 Responses to “Strip 3 – done!”

  1. Gill Ridgewell. September 17, 2013 at 3:39 pm #

    A great post my love. The bits about the mouse and slow worm nearly brought a tear to my eye. I’m sure the mouse will be fine, lets hope the slow worm is too.Gardening is not for the faint hearted as you have noted before! Why on earth were there shards of glass etc in your plot?! The previous plot holder was obviously a bit careless to say the least! Your harvest looks very good and I can testify that the tomatoes you gave me were delicious! XX

    • wifi allotment September 17, 2013 at 4:48 pm #

      Thanks! Yes poor wee things that had found refuge under the membrane. I’m guessing there was once a green house there that then got taken down in haste! Glad I got to it before kids did x

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