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Dodging the Raindrops

The rotten weather continues. I’ve often watched the national weather on TV and wished the North West could have the same weather as the South East. I didn’t really think my wish would be granted or that it would be granted by making it rain in the South East rather than sunny in the North West. Be careful what you wish for!

In fact, we enjoyed better weather on Wednesday than London. I was there for the day and it was raining whilst N Wales enjoyed sunshine. Stupidly I missed my train home, by 2 minutes, so didn’t get home until midnight.

There was a time when long days and 7 hours travel didn’t bother me, but no longer. So Thursday I felt about 93 years old. Decided to stick to less strenuous jobs for the day since the forecast was OK for Friday as well.

Side Shooting Tomatoes

At this time of year, side-shooting and tying in the tomatoes is a weekly job at least. So a happy hour in the warmth of the greenhouse. One thing I really like about my Vitavia greenhouse is the headroom. So many greenhouses have low eaves and you spend your time bent over.

Then it was back to the mountain of hawthorn trimmings. I’ve got some ratchet loppers and it’s just a matter of cutting them into manageable lengths, putting aside pieces thick enough to be worth saving for the wood burner. Problem with hawthorn and blackthorn is the thorns. Straight through my gardening gloves – ouch. Then the tips of the thorns break off under the skin and it’s a bee to dig them out with a needle.

Strawberry Jam – Yum!!

Friday. The weather hadn’t read the forecast and rained all day. Val was going to make her delicious strawberry conserve but decided to make strawberry jam instead. There was a little mould starting on some of the berries so she didn’t want to leave them soaking overnight in case it got worse. Despite my telling the neighbours how terrible her strawberry jam is, they still accepted a jar. One less for me to suffer. Trust me, you won’t like it! I’ll just force myself to be polite…

Saturday wasn’t bad so back outside. I’ve a pile of stacked turf that’s mostly rotted down. In an ideal world I’d leave it for another year as it’s still a bit fibrous but I wanted to start filling a raised bed for some brassicas. So I used the Merry Tiller to churn it up and break it down.

Then it was just a matter of barrowing it across to the raised bed, after sorting out and removing large stones. This way lies backache! Added some lime to it (brassicas love lime, don’t forget) and then topped it off with a couple of inches (50,800,000 micrometres) of compost to which I added some calcified seaweed, fish, blood & bone and some pelleted chicken manure. That should get them going.

I’ve more comfrey plants, which is a surprise. When I cut up the roots of the plant from my neighbour and potted them up, most shooted fairly quickly. The pots that didn’t produce a shoot just got left and they’ve now decided to show. So used the rotavator to churn up a patch ready for planting out.

Sunday. The rain’s held off although it’s threatened all day. Planted out some calabrese and kale into the raised bed and potted on Brussels sprouts and cauliflowers. Sick of these accursed slugs, despite using pellets they’ve still got half of my brassicas.

Harvested some reasonable first early potatoes, smallish but clean. Had a rather good cucumber as well from the greenhouse. The peppers are doing well in there and we might even see some tomatoes if the sun spends a few days shining.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary

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