Friday and the weekend have been spent in the same way on the plot, weeding, clearing and moving compost. I’ve got about a quarter of it moved now onto the top end of the plot and I’ve decided a deep bed or two is the answer for the bottom.
It’s not been a successful patch for me and I think it’s down to it being too wet. A raised deep bed will answer that problem and judging by the success others on the site are having from growing in pure compost make that patch productive.
Now the weather has improved, the runners are actually producing a few beans and looking green rather than sickly washed out yellow. Nothing like I would normally get but at least not a total failure.
The trick now will be to clear the compost without permanent back damage! Only a small ache as I write.
Grapefruit & Armagnac Marmalade
Val’s finished her Organic Grapefruit & Armagnac Marmalade, she had some problem with it not setting so it was back from the jars into the pan with a bit more sugar and some pectin stock not to mention some more Armagnac. The bottle in the lounge being empty, she asked about using the bottle in the cupboard. “Fine” said I, with brain only half engaged. VSOP Armagnac, the good stuff. Well, it tastes wonderful so I suppose some sacrifice is called for.
My main contribution to the processing has been the labels, they’re remarkably fine labels I might say. Pictures of little glasses of finest armagnac on them, no less!
On the Web Site
It’s been a bit fraught on the web site, the discussion on Harthill Allotments in Liverpool has been a bit more tense than I hoped with a few comments stretching the edge of what I hoped for. I understand feelings are high and positions entrenched but come on, we’re all gardeners and allotment gardeners at that.
It’s not, to an outsider, a clear cut debate. When a vacant plot goes wild should it eventually become a wildlife haven? Or should it be brought back into production? On our site we have one plot holder who has constructed what look like piles of twigs but are designed to provide a home for beneficial insects. She also has a pond for frogs, another helper in the battle against pests. It doesn’t take up space that would be used for growing but does encourage wildlife.
Ironically, the worst plots for wildlife are the tidy organised plots that look the best. Plots that just go weedy are literally neither use nor ornament. No benefit to wildlife and they look awful as well as seeding weeds over everybody else’s plots.
By the side of our site is a stream running through a patch of woodland carpeted with nettles mainly. I know it’s home to the pigeons, hardly an endangered species but I’m wondering what else lives in there. I’ve not seen a grass snake this year, they may not be rare but they are wonderful and I bet there’s one or two in those woods. Apart from all the fancy talk of biodiversity and suchlike, there is something magical about natural places without the straight lines and organisation we impose.
On the allotment forums we’ve had to kick off some twit calling himself Smithyveg. What an ignorant, ill-mannered lout he turned out to be. I expect he’s compensating for his inadequacies. Anyway, suffice to say that we are far better off without him. We have a nice chat area and even if we disagree we can be polite about it. We’ve reached the point where I’m amazed, over 2,000 members. I remember being happy when he hit 100!
It’s incredible how knowledgeable some members are and no question is too silly. If you don’t know the answer, how can it be silly? I remember wondering which way up to plant potatoes. Sideways, of course!
Anyway, everyone is welcome to join but we have a zero tolerance policy to rudeness and so forth. It’s bad enough what he have in the streets without having to put up with it on the site – virtual or real.
Monday being a bank holiday , I’m hoping to get a few more hours on the site and move at least another quarter of the compost mountain.