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Enough Rain, Thanks

Have we had enough rain yet? Part of me says we’d like the summer back please but the soil is surprisingly dry still. Back at home the lawn is green and lush but it really needs a cut, which isn’t so easy when it’s wet.

So with the day being best described as sunny periods and cloud, I thought I’d get a few hours on the plot. Working for myself from home, you’d think I could control my time and take a day out when I wanted. Not so.

Most of us have spam problems, those of us who run web sites more than most. Spammers don’t just email actual addresses but they try making up email addresses that might just exist. Could be admin@domain.com or manager@domain.com or even just 1234@domain.com

To fight these, we send all emails that are not for a valid address to the waste bin. Emails addressed to a valid address are then sent to a program that tries to decide if they are valid or spam. If valid, they’re passed onto the mailbox otherwise dumped.

Well a slight error in configuration had slipped in on a web site I manage. Instead of the rubbish being dumped, it was quietly being stored in a mail account that nobody actually uses. The hosting manager emailed me to say there was a large amount of email in this box and could I clear it as it had reached a point where it was causing problems.

In 18 months this box had collected 285,000 spam emails. It was taking more space than the rest of the site put together and had to go. Now on a home PC this isn’t too difficult a task. You delete the entire folder and it’s contents in one go. But on the server, not so simple.

Because it is being accessed remotely, the procedure involves listing the individual files then selecting and then deleting them. However, the system only allows a listing of 2,000 files at a time. Let’s just say a very boring and time consuming job of list, select, delete, repeat.

Anyway, by 4pm I was done and on the plot. And it starts to spit with rain. Now there’s a lot to do, and I hardly know where to start. First job has to be to water in the greenhouse and tidy up a bit. The cucumber has loads of fruits developing and is making a valiant attempt to take over the small greenhouse, so a judicious reduction there. The tomatoes needed sideshooting and tying in as well.

Outside, the courgettes have sneakily grown a couple of marrows when I blinked so a harvest there. Some of the lettuces have reached their peak but it’s hardly salad weather and we’ve more saladings than we can eat coming from a trough on the patio so they’re destined to feed the chickens.

Potatoes need harvesting but preferably not in the rain and the comfrey is more than ready for a cut. The heavy rain has battered it down so it looks a right mess as well.

The weeds – well they’re obviously loving the weather. I think I might have to resort to a spray for the paths, but even spraying needs a dry day without wind. Dry so the herbicide isn’t washed off the leaves and still air so the spray doesn’t drift where you don’t want it.

I don’t like using herbicides as a general rule but there are exceptions. Some weeds like couch grass, bindweed and horsetail are the very devil to deal with. So spot treating these saves many hours of trying to, and usually failing, to get all the bits of root out.

On the paths, well I’m not growing on them but even so, it’s a bit of a last resort. Being as they’re not actually in the growing space, I suppose you could claim it doesn’t effect organic growing. That’s really splitting hairs! Truth is, organic growing takes more time and effort than chemical. If you’ve the time then great, but if not – well a little careful use of chemicals is better than giving up.

I’ve a busy week ahead and will be away for a couple of days – goodness knows when I’ll get things done, especially since the forecast is hardly brilliant. Readers in the south east may gloat as they sit under their sun-shades.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary
5 comments on “Enough Rain, Thanks
  1. Margaret says:

    Not all of us! I live in Norfolk and my garden is absolutely parched! if you could send along some of your rain, I shall happily accommodate the glorious stuff!

  2. Jill says:

    I live in Norfolk as well and things are pretty bad on my allotment. No rain for ages and all our crops are really suffering. Butts are empty and the stream we use for getting water is dry so please send some rain our way!!

  3. Jimmy Coyle says:

    I live in Central Scotland and we have had rain since last Tuesday! Blight on Potatoes on Saturday and all we hear on the Natonal news is about how it is so hot in the South East even where to find guidelines on how to cope with high temperatures over night, we have had the central heating back on!!! Never mind having an allotment is all about learning how to cope and that includes the weather. Good crop of earlies “Rocket” very heavy cropper for a first early. Cabbage fly hit the Caulies even with collars fitted. Site is hit every year with the Carrot fly but it passed me this year, great year, as every year, for Mare’s Tail.

    Never mind the sun will come up tomorrow, well it will in some areas anyway!

  4. Steve in Salford says:

    Hi John

    Well the slugs are back, after the surfeit of rain we have had, I for one say enough for a couple of days at least, so now I can dig over the plot but no more rain. Got absolutely soaked yesterday when I went to the site. There is always something pulling at the time factor allowing you to get to the site. Never seems to be enough hours in the day but managed to crop some more potatoes, mint, thinned beetroot/turnips, picked some spinach and was given a pointy cabbage by a neighbour (which we had for dinner). Pruned my blackcurrant bushes as well, they had a single strong central stem with lots of side shoots so took out the leader to create a more bushy habit (its their first year in a new area).

    Rhubarb is growing a treat, the comfrey tea seems to be working nicely, time to feed the tomatoes and pick out side shoots again and tie them in.

    The comfrey tea has a interesting smell, smells mildly like a sewage works but only slightly, not like putting it straight in the water butt I believe which stinks to high heaven.

    Weeds seem to have taken over some parts and a bit of weeding was done, another piece of land was dug over about 18′ x 12′, ready to put in some more potatoes for winter.

    Last week I had some lovely lettuces, I use the word had as the slugs have eaten the lot of them but the peas are coming on nicely, planted those directly in the soil and are doing much better than a neighbours plot.

    Are we ever happy with the weather, it’s either too hot, too cold, too dry or too wet, ah well this is the glorious United Kingdom what can we expect. Looks like rain here again in Salford this afternoon, was sunny not more than 30 minutes ago but looks like it is going to tip it down, maybe I might make it down to do some more digging later today.

    As this is my first year growing on the plot it is no surprise to me how much hard work needs to go into it, to get it up to scratch, the digging is back breaking work but well worth it when you taste the fruits and vegetables at the end of it. Not following any particular planting plan this year, just get the whole thing dug over and getting as many crops in as possible.

  5. Ali says:

    Yes, our plot is in dire need of sunshine now, especially to ripen some of the soft fruit – the heavy rain has battered things somewhat. It seems to have been good for the brassicas though, they’re looking particularly healthy at the moment!

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