Thursday, January 22, 2009

Happy New Year 2009!!

Tuesday 20th January 2009 - weather: bright, but cloudy

Well, after a long absence, I am back and can start the new year with a report about my first proper visit of 2009. I hasten to add, I have been popping to the plot over the winter months, but to be honest, I haven't done much more than picking kale, chard, leeks, parsnips, carrots, beetroot, and sprouts. However, with spring just a gale force wind away, I thought I should get back into the swing of things and get back on site and prep the beds ready for the new years crops.

Actually, things weren't as bad as I feared, which was a pleasant suprise. Yes, plot number one, the one with the apple trees and fruit cage and permanent plantings, was weedy, but most of the weeds were annuals, forget me knots, chickweed and the like, plus that rotten creeping buttercup which seems to infest our site. I know that in a matter of weeks the mares tail will be showing it's nose, but for now, things aren't looking to bad.

I started at the top end of plot one, furthest from my shed, and just weeded, forked the ground over and edged. I am not planning to deep dig as I did a lot of digging in the autumn as I harvested so the ground was still nicely soft. The daffs are just starting to show, they were well fed during last summer and again in the autumn so hopefully there will be plenty of flowers, and the row of small spinach is still very green. I know this will probably run straight to seed as the weather warms up, but I don't mind so much. You are normally rewarded with lots of lovely young, tender leaves up the stem which are great in salads. I tidied the cardoon, my triffid, and the globe artichokes. Both have stayed green all winter. I hope any more unpleasant weather won't upset them. I am thinking of taking some young pups from the cardoon and putting on in my front garden - at over 12 foot tall when in flower, what a statement!

I cleaned through the strawberry bed, hopefully these will be nicely settled now and will fruit better this coming year. You may remember I moved the strawberry bed from under the apple trees to the top end where they should get showered with lovely sun. Last year they sulked, and there are some empty patches, but I do have a new batch of plants to put in next visit so that should bulk the bed up.

This is before the weeding and forking and over here ---------------------------------> is after I have been through the bed.

I have a new source of wood chippings so I am taking bags to the allotment every visit and am putting temporary chipped paths in. Then in the autumn when I dig the plot over, I can just dig the rotting wood chippings straight into the ground. Hopefully it will help the children know where to walk and if I need extra room for a bit more planting, I can just plant through the bark.

The ground was very wet and heavy and I currently have an injured finger so I decided I had done enough digging for one day. The wrens are busy bustling around my shed, so whether they will nest inside again, we will have to wait and see. Also a pair of, I think blue tits, but they were very small, were nipping in and out of a gap in the roof felt over the shed door, so maybe they are setting up home there. I don't know, I do seem to attract wildlife
Dug up some buried treasure!