Emigrating to New Zealand
Friday was a bit weird for us. My brother-in-law Paul and his family are emigrating to New Zealand and it was a farewell drink. He’s been out for a month and had come back to finalise some details before returning with his wife and four of the five children, the oldest is following on at the end of his schooling in September.
When somebody moves that far away, you know you’re not going to see much of them and possibly never see them again so a distinct tinge of sadness. On the other hand, they feel they can have and can offer the children a better life on the other side of the world so we’re proud of them having the courage to go for it. He’s working in Geraldine – lucky people there, he’s a brilliant chef.
Before he went over for a month to arrange jobs and housing for everyone, I gave him a copy of the book to read on the plane. From what he tells me, everyone in New Zealand has a veg plot and they produce some wonderful crops. He bought some swedes to use in his restaurant and said they were huge but still tender and very sweet.
He’s been showing the book off over there and asked if he could buy some copies as people had asked for them. So, sent him off with 6 copies to sell and told him to buy the kids something with the money. Funny to think of my little book so far away.
The only thing is that they need to reverse the timings, our summer being their winter and so forth. He was telling me that the summer and autumn are longer with a short winter and spring, but to complicate the matter they have different zones as North Island is warmer than South Island.
I’ve learned more about New Zealand from him in a few hours than I did in school with geography. In fact my only knowledge of New Zealand until recently was that there were two islands and hobbits. I really should have done my homework! Not that they would have taught us what wonderful friendly people they are there.
In the Potting Shed
Saturday was up to the potting shed where I sowed swedes, Brora and Best of All; cabbage Pyramid and Chinese cabbage Blues; cauliflower Pavilion and Aalsmeer; all in modules.
They’ll all get thinned to one per module and then the swedes will be planted fairly quickly. The rest may get potted on before going out. Swedes, being essentially a root crop, are normally best sown direct but I’m short of space at the moment and as long as I move quickly, they’ll be OK
I sowed some lettuce sent to me by my good friend in Canada known on the forums as Trillium. It’s one real benefit of the internet that you can get to know people across the globe. These lettuce are Rouge de Grenoblouse, a crisphead, and Forellenschluss, a romaine.
Finally I sowed some Beurre de Rocquencourt, my French dwarf French beans. They’re a waxy yellow bean and absolutely delicious but their only fault is that they don’t freeze well. They went into 3″ pots and will go out in a week or so.
Turnips, Beetroot & Squash
Dropped down to the plot at tea time and sowed a row of turnips and beetroot on the raised bed at the top of plot 29 by the onions. I’m so tight for space this year, it’s the ‘tuck in ‘ rotation system. I tucked in another squash on plot 5 by the shed, once again I’m banking on the new potatoes being cleared before it grows and needs the space.
Busy on the Allotment
The site was humming when I arrived, Larry said it had been a hive of activity all day. The compost man had been and there were giant molehills of compost on the paths being barrowed onto different plots.
Talking of molehills, I saw a dead mole on one of the plots the other day. I know they’re a little nuisance to veg growers and a bit more of a nuisance when they pop up on a lawn, but they really are a sweet looking little beast. Felt quite sad, looking at him still on his back.
I know most people aren’t as flexible with time as me and have to make the most of the weekend for allotmenting but I really like it when the site is quiet. Sitting on my bench on my own watching sunset has been wonderful.
Mind you, when I took on the plot only about half were let. Many of those that were let were uncultivated as well. I suppose if it had carried on that way eventually it would have been efficiently converted into an extension to the housing estate at great profit to the council and developers. Now we actually have a waiting list and there’s only one plot that is really bad,
Our nice council people have even provided some drainage pipe and stone so that the plotholders worst affected by water can drain their plots. Plot 2 is on a low corner and gets the water off the path, saturating it. Now it should be a lot better.