Birthdays, animal rescue & liming pasture

Well we can’t complain about this Easter, the weather was absolutely glorious. Unfortunately for me, I had to work over most of it. One of the joys and problems of working for yourself is that there are no set hours of work. When it comes in, you do it because you never know when it’s going to dry up.

Working from home is great although sometimes I miss the company of working with others. No lunch time chats or after work drinks. On the other hand, I never went to work in my jimjams and I certainly don’t miss traffic jams.

It was my birthday on Friday, 21 again.. ding ding. I wish!! I had a few pressies to cheer me up. An MP3 player so I can enjoy some music wherever I go. It’s incredible, I’d have had to carry a whole backpack full of cassettes to have the number of songs this tiny box holds.

The neighbours came over and gave me a bunch of Countryman magazines from the 1960s and 70s. I love old magazines and there’s hours of reading in there. One thing about gardening is that a tree is still a tree and a cabbage still a cabbage. Mind you, we’re not so keen on squirting DDT at anything that moves nowadays!

The big present from my darling wife was a petrol strimmer so I can keep the grass and weeds down. More on this to follow soon.

We’ve got some old iron gates here which have various colours of paint flaking off the rust. So spent a quiet hour painting one of them with Hammerite. I’ve got to say it’s a wonderful product, just wire brush off the loose rust and flakes and paint onto the rust. The gate into the walled orchard looks so much better and will last a lot longer now it’s not rusting.

It’s pretty expensive but goes a long way and lasts for ages, so I suppose I shouldn’t moan. Not that that has ever stopped me. I gate down, 3 to go.

On Monday we popped into Porthmadog to take some ornaments we no longer want to the Freshfields animal rescue shop. We’d got some Wedgewood that we haven’t anywhere to display and really won’t miss, so hopefully they’ll turn into money for them. When you look on their web site and read the stories of how people have treated their pets, you could lose faith in people. But then you see the effort that Freshfields and many others make for these animals and you know we’re not all bad.

It was quite crowded and the car park was nearly full. We’ve never seen it with above six cars on before, so I think the tourist season has started. And summer has yet to arrive.

Liming the Pasture

Had a chat with the farmer who’s grazing sheep on our fields and he’s going to fence off the vegetable plot area for us. It’s typical isn’t it? The one area we don’t want them is where they all like to gather.

Had to laugh though, I said to him about the quality of the pasture, which is really poor. If the quality of the land was better, it would grow more grass and nutritious grass so he could put more animals per acre on there.

Anyway, he said it needed lime and launched into an explanation of lime, acidity and how it’s measured with pH system. He also explained how improving the land was a long term job. Should I tell him about my books?  Or point him to my article on garden lime?

Now I admit I’m well out of my comfort zone with fields, but on the garden plot I’d be looking at adding about kilogram of lime per square metre in the autumn as the soil here is really acid. My neighbours had a test and it was pH4.5. However, we’ve about 3 acres of pasture to improve so that’s 1.2 hectares or 12,000 square metres. Which would mean, are you sitting down, 12 metric tonnes of lime.

I used to buy it in 25Kg bags and that’s 480 bags. At £3.98 a bag that’s over £1,900. Luckily it seems that bulk lime can be delivered and spread for anything between £10 and £30 a tonne and we’d be looking at about half the amount I’d use on a vegetable plot. Still, £180 for lime seems a lot of money (at the top price).  I think more discussion is called for.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary

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