Sunday, 15 April 2012

Catching up - again

The Sunday evening ritual once again.  Long soak in the bath while dinner cooks, then checking the weather forecast for the week to decide what clothes I'll need to have ready.  Looks like rain for most of the week after tomorrow, so nothing that will suffer if the hems get soggy.  Hang a few pairs of trousers in the bathroom to take advantage of the steam to loosen any creases, and don't drain the bath, as the water will be reused to soak some seed trays overnight.

Have had a busy weekend in the garden, catching up on the seed sowing.  The showers this afternoon provided a few natural breaks in the proceedings, but I'm getting happier with my progress.  Hopefully 24 different varieties of tomatoes will provide for our varying needs, from salads to sauces.  Because of the cold spell over the past couple of weeks, things have been slow to germinate, but hopefully there will be enough to plant at the allotment as we get the beds ready.

The allotment is undergoing a total revamp, restarting most of the raised beds after our miserable year in 2011.

At the end of March, we went to the Grow Your Own day at RHS Wisley, and attended a talk by no-dig vegetable growing expert Charles Dowding.  This was on one of the last warm days of March, and we'd been walkling round the gardens prior to sitting down in a sill, quiet, darkened room for the illustrated talk.  I tried hard to pay attention - I wanted to take in the information.  I made notes, I concentrated as best I could, but even so I nodded off a couple of times.  Fortunately, Howard drifted at different points in the lecture, so we were able to garner enough knowledge to tackle to couch grass plantation with renewed vigour over the Easter break.

We knuckled down to clearing the beds, starting with the one in need of planting first - the potato bed.  When the rain eventually arrived, we retreated to the shed and resolved to get that sorted for the year as well.  First thing we did was purchase some new pans for the camping stove.  Up to now we'd been using a couple of aluminium camping mess tins, but I wanted something a little better.  Ironically, the answer was found in Ikea (a set of three steel saucepans) for less that the cost of the old mess tins.  Next move - curtains for the window.

The council are starting flood prevention works in the park next to the allotments, to hold back the brook when it bursts its banks.  If all goes to plan, it should mean less flooding on the plots, but the neighbouring golf club is up in arms as the lower reaches of their course will become a temporary lake during deluges.  Boo bleedin' hoo, I say.  I know the area of the course this involves, and I've never seen anyone using it.  The one downside of the flood works is that one of the best Blackthorn bushes will disappear under an embankment.  But I'm sure that are plenty of others nearby that will survive and we'll still look forward to gathering Sloe berries in the Autumn to enjoy in gin for the rest of the year.

The little raised beds in the garden have started to yield a decent amount of salad leaves for our lunches, and I pulled a huge amount of rhubarb last weekend.  This has been turned into a chunky compote, which in turn has become crumble for dinner, and added to yoghurt, a welcome addition to weekday breakfasts.

The hens are now laying regularly, and we're starting to share the eggs with neighbours again.  The Ramsons in the back garden and growing nicely, and I've found loads of seedlings which I plan to transplant and maybe share.

Yes - everything in starting the grow again, and so far I'm just about keeping pace.

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