Monday, 30 March 2009

Getting organised

Yesterday was an organising day - not exactly intended, and with the weather being so gloriously sunny would have been better spent on the plot BUT - sometimes you just have to do what's in your mind to do. With summer arriving (though hard to believe with yet another frost on the ground this morning) and activity becoming more frantic and haphazard; a look at the shed situation seemed justified - though to call it a 'situation' is perhaps a little over dramatic!

Andrew would say this ritual is an annual pleasure for me and is dreading the words "its no good - the shed will have to be moved!". Well not this time - but the hoard of garden paraphernalia had to be shifted around and humanely culled or relocated to accommodate the huffing lawnmower that is currently residing in a friends shed due to us not being organised! A seemingly simple task but as these things go became a right faff! Anywho - I managed in the end and feel better for it so rewarded my order and efficiency by planting the sweet peas I sowed back in November(?).

I sow sweet peas in square pots (9cm) with four seeds to each pot. In most cases, they all germinate and I have a lovely full pot of well established peas to plant out. I never bother separating them as most sources say they dislike root disturbance and this way I have much quicker coverage of my chosen supports. This year I have some stems from a coppiced Cornus perhaps 5 1/2 ft tall which I wombled from a pruning job I was doing. It's great when you can think of practical uses for garden waste products and it's fast becoming my mantra for the allotment!
Although reasonably sheltered in our back yard and the peas have been well hardened, I am perhaps a bit premature in planting them out (last night's frost proves it). Rather than risk failure after such loving attention, I cobbled together a makeshift 'rocket' cloche, with some corrugated plastic sheet (re-using again) and the help of an oddly impressed husband!

And here are some pics of the completed greenhouse.....

....the first salad crops sown ....

....the beginnings of my plant minions!

Friday, 13 March 2009

A spring in the step.......

It seems my progress has continued undocumented for the last few months which is hardly surprising as I contracted the mother of all cold viruses (the like of which I’ve not experienced in years) and motivation has been slack to say the least. Then there was the snow and the rain and the general feeling of hopeless despair of - would we ever transform our grassy field into the beautiful and productive, creative playground that is my vision.

Gladly, the cloud of doom has passed taking with it plague and pestilence and with spring approaching there is much to be cheerful about. What better flower to lift the spirits of a winter ravaged soul than the humble daffodil? For me, this is the beginning of spring - that tangible waft in the air of warmer weather, longer days and growth. So back on track dedicating two days during the week and as much time that can be spared at weekends - we graft on. I don’t doubt there will be impatience, frustration and maybe the odd tantrum throughout the year when our efforts fail to go to plan - but the plan is flexible. I estimate it will be three years before the land is fully cultivated and should accept it is a process of gentle evolution – that way the journey can be enjoyed and cherished in all its wonderful education and perhaps I avoid punishing myself for inadequacies.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

The first cut is the deepest..

Well technically speaking the first grass cut of the year was the highest (setting) not the deepest, but that just didn't roll off the tongue as well! According to Emma today was the first time I've been to the allotment this year! She's been beavering away down there though, I was impressed to see some wire defences she has built around the fruit trees, as well as a low defensive wall you can see in the photo below. I'm expecting a moat next.
On closer inspection you can see that set inside the defensive wall are logs with holes drilled in them, and canes. Apparently this is to encourage insects to nest there, presumably Emma is hoping for some sort of stinging or deadly insects that can be trained into an unwieldy army or something.
This final photo may look a bit odd, and that's because it is. I took this in the kind of pouring rain that would discourage even the hardiest of photographers from exposing their equipment to the elements. Fortunately for you (the reader) I'm more foolish than hardy, so I took some photos anyway!

Hopefully Emma will post soon and explain in proper gardening terms what she's been up to. Until then...