After a very leisurely start to Monday, headed down to the plot in the afternoon and ran the Merry Tiller back over plot 5. As I was chuntering up and down, I was thinking how the soil has improved since I took the plot on. Clearing the plot that first time was such a job and I thought I’d never get to the bottom end.
Years of digging and tonnes of compost later, it’s almost good soil. Clay soils are hard work but I’d rather have clay than sand any day. As long as you work them, lime them and keep adding organic matter, they hold water and nutrients well. Sandy soils though are harder to keep in heart. Still they are lighter to dig.
One thing I noticed was the difference in the soil where the leeks had been. It’s amazing how the roots break up the heavy clay soil. The effect is out of all proportion to what you would expect from the thin roots. Nature at work.
Over on plot 29 a patch of nettles has sprung up where the sweetcorn was. It’s really quite strange how this one patch has produced so many nettles but not anywhere else to speak of on the plot. I suppose a patch of seeds must have landed there. Anyway, they’re for the compost heap.
The back is getting a bit better, but it began to twinge so I thought discretion the better part of valour and returned home.
We had our NVS meeting on Tuesday evening. Attendance was down a little on usual but not too bad. Anyway, a change in speaker and so John Bebbington gave us a talk on growing carrots, parsnips and cauliflowers for show.
John’s a really great chap. Down to earth, nothing is too much trouble and he’s always willing to help. He grows on an ordinary allotment without masses of specialist equipment yet he won the nationals with his cauliflowers and I think it was more for a joke that he grew a cabbage it took four men to carry!
What is more amazing is that he grows on a plot infected with clubroot. Once you have the dreaded clubroot, there really isn’t much chance of getting rid of it. There were some effective chemical controls but they’ve gone, at least for the ordinary grower.
Generally I suppose I lean towards organic growing. Nobody really wants to eat food that contains pesticide residues and we’ve known for many years of the environmental dangers of unrestrained chemical use. However, now we seem to have thrown the baby out with the bathwater. Still, we are where we are and you can cope with clubroot on a plot as I’ve written in Coping with Clubroot.
As I write this on Wednesday morning, the weather is described as dry and sunny on the radio but outside the window there is thunder and lightning with pouring rain falling from a black sky. Curious!
Is it worth putting up an aviary type cage to stop birds, we are inundated with pigeons. It’s our second year with the allotments and a few are putting these cage up to stop mainly the pigeons attacking our fruit and vegetables. Is there a cheaper way?