After another hard week at the writing mine, by Friday I was so ready for some serious plotting. Headed off for the plot about 4 o’clock and then I was faced with the where to start problem.
First things first though, I’d acquired a very large pallet last year and a couple of normal ones which I’d been wondering what to do with. Since we’re seriously planning on moving next year and I’m behind and busy this, decided to pass them on to someone who can make use of them. So off to Paul and Karen’s plot with them.
One great lesson of allotments is that you don’t own the land and it’s selfish to have a plot and not use it. The same applies to those useful things we salvage from skips. I’m not doing any major constructions this year and if plans change and we don’t move, I can always salvage more pallets and bits.
Garlic & Shallots
Over on plot 5, the garlic is nicely up and the shallots are starting well under the fleece, but not quite ready to take the fleece off yet. It’s not there to protect from frosts or anything, just to stop the pigeons who like to pull up the shoots and bulbs. I suppose they think they look tasty, pull it up and decide it’s not tasty so throw it aside. Then try the next one in the row.
The main area of plot 5 needs rotovating but it was very dry. The weather may be nice but things are getting pretty parched. Very unusual for the time of year. So decided that was out and headed over to plot 29.
Now 29 is looking in desperate need of some attention. So far I’m not exactly providing an advert for my books! I seem to be better at giving advice than taking it. Especially the bit about get down to the plot and do a bit each day if you can rather than leaving it to a planned day when something always goes wrong or the weather changes.
Anyway, decided to weed the over-wintered onion bed on plot 29. The chickweed was spreading fast and swamping the onions. Some are doing really well on there and we’ve now run out of onions at home. Had to buy some from the shop, much to our shame.
Made a good start on this when Val appeared. Now when you’ve been married as long as we have, nearly 30 years, you don’t need to say too much. One look at her face and I knew something was wrong. I’m not going to go into detail, let’s just say a family problem has come up. Chucked the hand hoe and kneeling pad into the shed and headed home for the phone.
Merry Tiller in Action
Saturday was taken up at home so it was Sunday before I got down to the plot again, and that was quite late in the afternoon. We’d had a little rain on Saturday so the ground was damp and OK to rotovate plot 5.
If you look at a car from 1976, it’s so different from a modern car. Modern cars perform better from more efficient engines using less fuel and are far safer. Even if the better brakes don’t save you, the airbag probably will.
Rotovators are almost completely the opposite. The machine nowadays is tinny in comparison with the old ones, especially the tines. The engines have to comply with emission and noise regulations that means they’re more temperamental as well.
My good old Merry Tiller started on the second pull after sitting in the shed all year. I don’t exactly molly coddle it. No service for three years, no attention whatsoever. It’s just sat patiently waiting for me. Nearly forgot, I put some petrol in it!
When you get the hang of using it, the Merry Tiller is really easy to operate. The main trick is not to go too fast and let it do the work. On the first run, it bounced a bit, running over the surface so back up the same row so it dug in all the way.
Then back down with half the tines in the first row and half on fresh soil. This keeps it from bouncing. I’m saying row, but its more like a circle, down one side and up the other side of the plot. Eventually just one little strip left in the middle which it is really satisfying to mash up.
My back was playing up so back over to plot 29 where I finished weeding the over-wintered onion bed, an easy job, and that was it for the day. The back is a bit better, I’m convinced it’s from sitting too long at the computer and not getting enough exercise.