Monday, February 27, 2006

Green Shoots..............

Went to the plot just for a “look-see” this morning. Too darn damp and dismal to do anything useful. At last, after several weeks of prevaricating, the replacement crop of broad beans in the cold frame have started to come through, giving every indication that I, instead of Apodemus, might get to eat this lot. A very vibrant, Spring like green on an otherwise miserable day.

The local forecast is for another 10 days of freezing weather, which is depressing, but if it rains a lot it will just about be excusable, as here in the South East we are desperate for every last possible drop in the reservoirs. We’re already facing the prospect of a year round hosepipe ban as it is....without the 200,000 more homes proposed to be built in the region by 2010.

Phoned Thompson & Morgan this afternoon to chase up my seed potato order, as word on the allotment is that they have been having some problems. Seems they have apparently, but orders are now flowing again, and mine should be here sometime this week……now where are those chittin’ shoe boxes I saved?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Of Mice and Men.....................

Apodemus Sylvaticus was the culprit!... He sneaked in under cover of darkness and made free with another man's property...namely all my broad bean seeds. The thief is of course more commonly known as the Woodmouse, or Long Tailed Fieldmouse, but calling him “Apodemus” seems to personify the little villain quite nicely. Of the four rows of Aqua Dulce beans I planted in November, the mouse, or mice, have had all but one single, solitary bean. To add insult to injury, on either side of my plot, my neighbours’ beans grow unmolested and proud... Why was I singled out?...Were my seeds more delicious in some way?
All I have to show for my hard work are rows of regularly excavated little pits, that appeared over the Christmas period. I know we a like all good “beanfeast” at that time of year, but this is rather taking things too far I feel. A new replacement sowing is underway in pots in the cold frame (suitably rodent proofed) so in the end all that is lost is time and patience. However, if anyone can advise on how to avoid this unhappy occurrence in future, then I'll be delighted to hear from you…I will need to plant peas soon and the fat, happy mice will probably be breeding!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Onions Away............

The first crops of the year are in!

Three rows of "Delvdad" shallots, and four rows of "Sturon" onions. I grew Sturon last year and the results were pretty impressive. Good, big, uniform onions that have kept very well.
The planting instructions for both varieties, and other plotholders at RC, favour leaving them sticking halfway out of the soil. Though it may be just the arrogance of a beginner I don't go much on this, and like to bury mine a bit deeper so the soil just covers the top of the dead stalks on the sets. Firstly it stops birds pulling them all up in mistake for nesting material; and secondly I think that in a dry summer like last year, it helps to have their roots a little deeper so they don't "dry & fry" after you have watered them. I also like to space them out a couple of inches further each way than suggested, as they benefit from regular hoeing....and I have big feet.
I'm not setting myself up as an onion aficionado, but in the last two years mine were as good as anyone's on the site....Stick with what works I reckon.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbour's Raised Bed...

Since dipping a toe (or a hoe) in the world of allotment blogging...err like yesterday,… I can't help noticing how many people are sporting impressively neat and tidy raised beds on their ground. It's enough to make one feel strangely inadequate. My plot is 32'x 90'..or about 9½ rods in old money. It’s true I only currently have about two thirds down to cultivation, as I just inherited an extra half from a friend who “bowed out gracefully” after a couple of years tenure, and so am therefore playing catch-up... (I’m kidding myself the other third is really a “lawn” whereupon I will eventually sit, sipping vodka & tonic and reflecting upon my self sown glory.)... Even so, the thought of dividing and raising the growing area seems FAR too much like hard work – So I guess I shall remain a flatlander, and …(look away now if easily shocked)..walk upon my soil with a heavy farmer-like tread.

Call me a luddite, but I know what I like.

"Hello my name is Andy and I'm a Shed-aholic"

It's small, very imperfectly formed, and suffers from the depredations of the "Shed Elves" who always trash it when I'm not there........But it's mine!... All Mine D'ya hear....You can't take it away from me.....Bwwuuuuhahaaah!

Friday, February 17, 2006

Back to the land.....

So then.....February 2006.....the start of another growing year, and
my third at Ridgeway Crescent.

My plot may look bare now in February....but in my mind's eye
it is already August.

So, upwards and onwards then.....