Saturday was hardly July weather and I can’t even say it didn’t rain although it was only a few spots in the evening. Last week we managed 100mm of rain, 4 inches. I think the average rainfall for July is around 60mm so we have had more than a months rain in the first week. Crazy.
Mowing Long Wet Lawns
The lawn was looking more like a rainforest, which the cats seemed to appreciate, but not she who must be obeyed. Normally you don’t mow long wet grass with a Flymo because it wraps around the blade and pulls as well as building up mulch on the underside of the mower that comes off in big lumps as you go around.
I didn’t have much choice so out of the shed came the trusty mower. Set the blades as high as possible and away we go. It’s important if you have an overgrown lawn not to try and take it back in one go so always take the first cut on the highest setting you can. With a wet lawn it means that you have a chance of it drying out enabling a lower cut the next day.
On Sunday, I did just that. Reduced the blade height to the lowest and gave another cut. I also took a good look at the blade which is pretty blunt and chipped from the odd bits of gravel. Smoothed and sharpened with a file but it’s possibly time to replace the blade after 3 years..
Net result over the two days has been 5 times the normal amount of grass cuttings. That’s all useful stuff on the compost heap. Just as I finished the Sunday mowing we had another shower, quite heavy but brief. Not the best thing to do, using an electric mower in the rain. Incidentally, always use one of those RCD plug things when using a mower. I’ve managed to cut through the cable twice with no harm to me thanks to the trip plug. Much better than 240 volts shooting through you. Luckily I had just finished so it was a case of rushing everything back into the shed. At least it looks reasonable and may even hold until the next break in the rain.
Wheelbarrow Tyre Inner Tube Victory at Last!
For those who have not been following the saga of the wheelbarrow tyre.. The story so far is that the old tube perished and was beyond patching further, I managed to pinch and burst the replacement and had to buy more patches but to no avail. Back up to date, the new new inner tube arrived and was very carefully fitted. It now seems to be holding pressure. Total cost just £11 in patches and tubes to fix the tyre on a wheelbarrow I could buy for about £20. Something wrong here.
Onto the Allotment Site
It was quite busy on the allotment site when I arrived on Saturday. The chap from Sandbach was moving his pile of compost off the car park and we had a brief chat about wheelbarrow tyres. Apparently the bicycle shop in Crewe stocks them but they’re about £7.00 so I haven’t done too badly.
Jim and I then had a talk about his plot. A dose of fertiliser has made some improvement and his runner beans don’t look too bad although a bit sad so I donated a bottle of tomato feed. Being legumes they’ll make their own nitrogen so tomato feed should help them being my theory. Val had picked up a load reduced to silly money at the back end of last year so I’m not quite as generous as you might think!
Gianni and Janice were working away on their plot, complaining about a lack of courgettes on there 100 odd plants. I think they’ll be overwhelmed if the weather improves but they insist they love courgettes. Personally I can take them or leave them.
Larry and Gaynor came over. Larry was once again insisting his tomatoes are wonderful but these are the ones at his home greenhouse and I’m not allowed to photograph his tomatoes anymore. I’ll have to get a camera with long lenses and get a shot from his neighbour’s garden!
Having fixed the wheelbarrow tyre, finished the social niceties it was straight down to the potatoes. Finally a success story to relate. The Arran Pilot and Adora have performed wonderfully. Although they’ve grown larger than is usually wanted for early new potatoes they’re in excellent condition. Very little slug damage. In fact I managed to fork more potatoes than the slugs have got to. From the two rows, one of which I’ve already had three plants from, I got 6 carrier bags full. That’s two wheelbarrow loads. I do feel that it’s time they came up anyway as some look as if they may start to rot in the sodden ground.
In actual fact I think these were the best ever I’ve grown. I put this down to three things.
- The compost we had delivered giving a good growing medium and deterring the slugs for some reason.
- Feeding with comfrey tea earlier in the growth cycle
- Plenty of water.
I’ve another two rows of second earlies that I think need to come up sharpish but I’d had enough after the first earlies. It was warm in the sunlight but surprising chilly in cloud. Working muscles in the cold is a recipe for problems as I wound when I was sat at home in the evening. The back seized but ibuprofen pills and rub took care of the problem
Val came down as I was watering the greenhouses and started harvesting some broad beans. Two carrier bags full in short order. That was about it for Saturday. On Sunday, after the rain stopped play with the lawnmower we thought about going down to the plot and since it had stopped raining down we went. Of course that was all it took, down came the rain. So we carried on harvesting broad beans in the rain, which would prove we’re both mad but we weren’t the only ones on the site!
Completely cleared the beans from plot 29 and got about half off plot 5 before we called it a day. Another six carrier bags of broad beans.
Blanching and Freezing.
After a warming cup of tea we sat down and started getting beans out of their pods. After we’d each done a carrier bag, I went off to potter around with pans of boiling and cold water blanching them ready to freeze.
We stopped about half way through as it was getting late and enjoyed my carrots, beans and potatoes with a lamb chop for dinner. Delicious!