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Batten Down the Hatches!

One thing gardeners and farmers have in common is a bit of an obsession about the weather. You can talk through the news but “shhh! It’s the weather” So when we were promised a reasonable day on Saturday followed by a stormy Sunday and Monday we took it seriously.

Unfortunately mother nature rarely lets the weather centre know exactly what she plans here and most of Saturday was grim but late afternoon out came the sun and we got busy outside.

The patio chairs got folded up and put away along with the parasol. I doubt that will come out until 2014 now. Next was a walk around picking up and putting away those plant pots and troughs left sitting there. OK, I’m not a tidy gardener but I do know that with the storms here a plastic pot left sitting around empty can be half a mile away by morning.

The storm passed over us as predicted and wasn’t as bad as many we’ve seen which is a blessing. It really feels like nature’s way of saying the summer is at an end and soon we’ll  be well in to autumn.

The autumn equinox isn’t that far away, September 22, and after that the nights will be longer than the days until next spring. A depressing thought.

Don’t Forget to

Anyway, let the storm be a warning to you. Don’t forget to check greenhouses over and replace any missing panes of glass before the wind gets in and rips the house apart. Cracked glass should really be replaced but you can get away with taping it. Even parcel tape applied on both sides will hold it together for a few months until you can get around to it.

Watch out for missing glazing clips as well. They’re a lot cheaper to buy than panes of glass. Rips in polytunnels should be repaired as soon as you find them. These jobs are really the proof that “a stitch in time saves nine”

We’ll still be needing the lawnmower and probably the rotavator but it won’t be long until they get stored away until spring in the shed. Talking of sheds, check the roofing felt is in good condition. If you’ve any small rips you can pop in a few roofing nails to hold things down and paint on some of the black stuff. Better than the wind ripping off whole sheets of felt.

Comfrey

Those who know me know I’m a real fan of comfrey. It’s easy to grow, makes fantastic fertiliser, gets compost heaps going as well as manure and even provides a free and nutritious food for poultry and other livestock.

Comfrey Plant

Comfrey Plant

In the mid nineteenth century, it was a popular agricultural fodder crop and I’m convinced that we’ll see a resurgence in the future when oil prices rise and the economics of agriculture change.

The trend since the second world war has been to mechanise, replace people with machines and the farm labourer who was actually highly skilled across the board has been replaced with the specialists and the unskilled seasonal labour shipped in to work for a pittance from eastern Europe.

Whilst at home we have nearly 2.5 million people out of work and a further 1.5 million under-employed in part-time and zero hour contracts. There’s something badly wrong in our system.

Anyway, back to comfrey. I decided to write a new page on growing and using comfrey on Sunday and must have been in the zone because everything just fell onto the paper. OK, fell onto the screen would be more accurate but you know what I mean. So I’ve now put up seven pages on growing and using comfrey.

I hope you’ll find it useful and that it will tempt more people to grow it and use it.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary

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