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Zen & the art of hoeing

Saturday was spent mainly recuperating from moving the compost yesterday. In fact my back wasn’t as bad as I feared which I put down to the shovel halving the twisting motion that seems to really bring it on.

I wasn’t completely lazy, although I did spend 3 hours watching my DVD of the Victorian Kitchen Garden. Wonderful.

Deep Bed Timber

I dropped over to a local timber merchant and ordered some wood to build the deep beds with. It’s pressure treated 6″ x 1″ and comes in 4.8 metre lengths for £5.40 plus VAT. I reckon 5 lengths is perfect to make a one foot deep bed, 4.8 metres long and 1.2 metres wide.

Added in a couple of 8′ fence posts and 10 lengths of 2″ x 1″ and the total bill was £98.00. Ouch! How did that happen?

The plan is to use some of the two by ones to make a frame so I can easily net the beds if I want and the rest is going towards a fruit cage on plot 29. I’ve a space about 8 feet by 20 feet there that will be ideal.

They give free local delivery so the wood should be on site on Tuesday. Because it will arrive in one length it’s going to save me a bit of work and make it easy to level up etc.

Val Making Piccalilli

Val, however, was not in a lazy mood. She decided to make some piccalilli which involved chopping loads of vegetables, salting them and the next day the half pleasant smell of vinegar on the stove. Eventually seven jars of the yellow gold appeared so I thought I could have some. Some hope! Apparently I have to wait at least six weeks for it to mature. She’s popped some recipes online – Val’s Hot Piccalilli, Mild Piccalilli and a general piccalilli recipe.

When you make your own pickles and suchlike every batch is different but when you buy from the shop it’s exactly the same every time. It may be really nice but it does get boring.

We did take a stroll over to the plot to get a cucumber but I have no lettuce left, however Larry wasn’t on the plot so we stole one of his. He’s nothing else worth stealing on his plot so we left it at one lettuce. (Thanks chum!)

Was a bit disturbed to find the gate was unlocked on the site but nobody was on there. I do wish people would be a bit more careful, once the yobs are on the site wrecking things it’s too late.

Sunday I felt ready to do a bit so Val pointed me to the lawnmower and then took me shopping. The main purpose was to get some Wellingtons that Aldi were advertising for £7.99 with steel toecap and sole plate but neither of the two branches we visited had any! Of course, since we were passing, she had to pop into a couple of supermarkets to bargain hunt.

Meditating with a hoe

I was dropped onto the plot around 4pm with the lawn mowings and the kitchen waste for the compost bin. Val returned with the empty bags and I picked up my hoe. All I did for the next couple of hours was to hoe away at the weeds.

Using the hoe, stopping occasionally to sharpen it and then back to the gentle back and forth motion is strangely therapeutic. It doesn’t require absolute concentration, unless you’re up by some plants, so the mind is free to wander. I can’t claim Zen enlightenment arrived but I definitely felt better afterwards.

By six o’clock I’d done about a third of the plot, which wasn’t bad at all. Carefully locking the gate behind me, I left the plot for home.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary

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