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 email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or even just email@example.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.
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.