We’re Off!

The bags are packed, tickets and passports treble checked and on Wednesday morning we’re heading for a fortnight of sunshine. The house sitter has a little list and, no doubt, we’ll be returning on the first of October to some totally spoilt moggies looking fat and sassy.

We’re going back to Costa Teguise, Lanzarote which will be our third time. The plan is simple; take some good books to read and chill out for two weeks, recharging our batteries. It must be a sign of our age that makes a quiet, unexciting resort that shuts down at midnight appealing!

Whilst we are away we won’t be able to supply book orders, answer emails etc.

It’s always difficult to pick a good time to be absent for gardeners, except maybe December. There are always jobs to be getting along with, seeds to be sown and weeds to be hoed.

I think the worst months to be away would have to be the long school summer holidays which are a hangover of our agricultural past. In country areas the children were needed for haymaking and harvest so would be taken out of school. The sensible answer was to make it an official long school holiday.

At the risk of sounding like a crusty, perhaps children working on the land – making a real and valued contribution by helping on the family farm wasn’t totally a bad thing. They’d learn real life lessons that would carry through to adulthood. And being needed would give them a sense of self-worth and pride that some adolescents seem to lack.

After the overnight rain on Friday, Saturday brightened up in the afternoon but it was pretty damp. I’d still got some mowing to do but wet grass just clogs the lawnmower. The Merry Tiller is awaiting surgery and so rotavating was out as well.


Mulched around the base of more of the leylandii that seem to have established despite the efforts of the grass and weeds to swamp them. I’m laying cardboard down and then about 10cm (4 inches in real money) of bark chippings. Lack of cardboard is the constraint here. Luckily we have lots of things delivered from the internet nowadays, especially since the shops are a fair trip and fuel is expensive, which provides cardboard packaging.

Not so long ago supermarkets used to always have the empty boxes available for customers to pack their shopping in but that seems to be rare now. Strangely it is still common in France – in the country areas at least. I’d have thought the compulsory carrier bag charge that we have in Wales and soon in England would have encouraged them to bring it back but I suppose selling ‘bags for life’ that are adverts for the chain is more profitable.

Topped up the bark chippings between the raised beds. The thing about using wood chips for paths is that it does gradually rot down. Because the chippings contain no nitrogen the rotting down sucks it from the ground which stops most plants from growing. Once they have rotted down, they improve the soil. Ideal for allotments where the next tenant might not want paths in the same place or anywhere where you might change the paths in the future.

Last Broad Beans

The last of the broad beans were picked. OK, they’re well past their best but there’s a few free meals to be had. Cut the stems off at ground level for the compost bin and the roots with their nitrogen are left in the ground. There were a few weeds which I got out and then ran the Mantis over the beds before sowing mustard green manure.

Dwarf French beans I’ll just leave in the ground. Even when sowed too late to get a crop, they can be useful as a green manure. The runners will keep going for a while yet, assuming the winds don’t blow them over.

Lucky Meeting

Got chatting to a couple who keep a horse in the field behind us. I’m not sure they believed me but it’s true, one of our cats is friends with their horse and often sits on the wall with horse’s head just a few inches away from him. I’m sure they’re talking to each other. Or maybe I’ll be taken away in a special jacket with sleeves at the back.

Anyway, good news is that they don’t live far away and have a lot of horse manure they don’t want. So a win win as I certainly do want it! I’ll be picking it up when we get back next month.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary

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