Archive | June, 2015

Clearing the decks

19 Jun

The last few weeks have seen me clearing away, weeding, chopping and lopping all the anomalies my plot had to offer. I used to tolerate a small oak tree slap bang in the middle of my plot but recently noticed it was getting so big my loppers from home would soon be insufficient for cutting it down, so down it came. I had seen the acorn this young tree had grown from so it pulled at my sentimental heart to chop it down and add it to the compost but I knew really an oak tree in the middle of the plot was a rather useless idea.

Ditto the four foot weed that did give off rather nice flowers. And the dock leaf plant which had now grown to several feet high, in danger of going to seed and sprinkling it’s off spring near and far with each gust of wind that comes by way of the plot.

So my plot now looks more neat and uniform than ever before as I embrace an unsentimental approach to gardening.

Elsewhere the broad beans are covered in black fly despite my spraying them with aphid killer. My slug free lettuce is wilting under the plastic cover I have constructed as a way to protect them from all things molusc, while my slug filled lettuce I am growing at home diminishes every night even though it is ringed by a holly trinity of coffee granules, egg shells and copper tape. The final attempt to protect the lettuce came when I cracked by cracking open the slug pellets even though I had vowed not to use them any more. What choice do you have when all other methods fail and everything you grow seems to be destined to be everyone else’s lunch but yours?

At home we are a family divided, with the oldest one heading to Beaver camp tonight with her dad, leaving me with the younger child with a long weekend stretching ahead of us. A year ago I would have balked at such a situation but now he has mellowed and out grown the toddler tantrums, yesterday he told me he loved the plot and would dig it even when I die (I won’t hold him to it but the thought was a sweet one) so I envisage, weather permitting, a fair bit of plot time during our long divided weekend.

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The whole plot sans mini-oak and tall weeds

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Slug ravaged lettuce

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Thus far slug free lettuce

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Fast forward to summer

5 Jun

Let’s not waste time with the weather, the fact there have been days of late when I have arrived at the plot in shades and shed my jacket only to be trudging home two hours later amidst hail stones, zipped up as though back in December.

Let’s skip to the fact we seem to now be in summer (is that overly optimistic? Yes probably, the heating only went off two nights ago) and that spring never really happened.

With the warm weather come new plot neighbours – some will stay for years others (as happens frequently my end of the plot) often battle valiantly with the weeds for six months and then pack up never to be seen again. Plot neighbours come from all backgrounds and are of all ages, some respect boundaries, others encroach on paths and orchards, some come for peace and quiet, others want to stand and chat. It’s a rich tapestry of personality types and though I have often struggled with it – having little time to chat and really just wanting peace from two young kids – I have slowly and perhaps reluctantly come to realise people are what make allotmenteering such a different pursuit to gardening at home. And the sunny weather brings us all out!

Being time pressed as always, racing against the clock before the school pick up, there now follows a pictorial guide to what I have been doing this week: mainly weeding, digging, planting, watering and molusc relocating.

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My youngest had his strawberries eaten by snails!

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Strawberry overflow.

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More strawberries!

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Supporting broad beans.

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Beetroot seedlings

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Onions, leeks and garlic – I finally harvested the leeks this week.

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I weeded fruit border, an ongoing battle.

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With most of the leeks harvested I prepared the ground for cucumbers

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Uncle Arthur gave me lots of plants this week – I planted out the tomatoes

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Taking stock at the end of a hectic week.