Thursday, August 25, 2005

Topsy Turvey May – and the hard work continues

There are a few gaps in my diary – so I must have had a few hectic or exhausting days when I did not fill it in – or maybe it was another of those senior moments that seem to be creeping up on me.

The allotment was beginning to look good – and getting established. I now had a nice lawn on which to park car/s on my allotment and somewhere to turn around – there is only a mud track alongside it so the latter I considered important, and came in especially useful on the couple of occasions when my car conked out and I needed assistance to get it going again!

Not a good idea when you have been up the allotment for over 4 hours, hubbie is back from golf and expecting lunch on the table, and when he phones he is told,'Just another half hour I am just in the middle of.......' then he phones later and tells you it is 3pm and he is out bowling at 6pm. You rush to pack up, lock up, get out of your Worzel Gummidge outfit, dash to the car and.... ooops! Helpless woman mode! "Hi darling, it's me, my car won't start, can you bring the jump leads?" 'WHERE ARE THEY?' (Why do men expect things to jump out of cupboards right in front of them without looking!) Anyway it wasn't a flat battery, I was not guilty of leaving the boot open (again) - which was just as well as we couldn't work out where to 'Connect the black lead to a metal part of the car engine block' Have you tried finding anything that looks metal on car engine these days - that the leads will reach to! Anyway, I used my female gift of the gab, found Kenny working on his lottie, explained that I needed a knight on a white horse, as both hubby and myself were useless with modern car engines, and he diagnosed a stuck starter motor. There you go, a bit of humpy bumpy and it started! So I know what to do next time. Ooops digressed as usual. Back to what you want to read about!

The first entry on 5th May, the weather was dry and I spent three and a half hours weeding, planting out a bed of salads, cucumbers and tomatoes. I was up there every day for the next 10 days most of the time weeding (still digging out the dreaded dock and thistle and bindweed thugs). The lawn got mowed, lots of veggie seeds got planted and the potatoes got earthed up on three occasions when the rain washed some of the soil off the tops. Frost was forecast, so I spent a lot of time covering each little sprout as it popped it’s head above the soil – on my hands and knees sandcastle style – using my hands to pile the soil up and getting it to stay put. I also used grass cutting to do the job and this was done over a few days. What the others on the site made of that exercise I can only imagine and their comments were probably not complimentary! (Being hard of hearing saves a lot of tears at times) But my efforts were rewarded in the potato department as we had heavy frosts and their potatoes got caught, the leaves burnt, whereas mine………Perfick!

On the down side, the birds and rabbits kept pulling up the onions sets and throwing them around, so I spent hours putting them back in. The Swedes, carrots, Cherokee Trail of Tears beans, French beans, and various varieties of peas did not germinate or if they did the snails, mice or birds got them. But I think that it was probably the dramatic change in temperatures. The parsnips were a success though, and I had bought 4 packets as I was told they were difficult to grow. I used the other couple of packets a month or so ago as they would not be any use next year anyway, so who knows we might have a mild winter and I might get another crop.

We had a sunny Bank Holiday weekend, and my eldest son Gary decided to have a go with the rotorvator for me, and Haruko planted out some more tomatoes plants.

Pat did some lawn mowing.
Look at that concentration - tongue out, go faster F1 gloves. There was a bit of a problem firing up the engine and I was called to the pits, but once I got him revved up,you can see that his debut circuit was a success.

I am not in the photos because I was working hard too – and I took a few photos too. Gary was amazed at how hard work it was and said that I shouldn’t use it myself but to get someone in to help me. Kind of defeats the object of growing your own vegetables if you have a gardener to do all the work for you, and the cost of course is prohibitive in my case. Maybe if I win the lottery????

May was the month when I also did a lot of plant propagation of perennial flowers which are all down the bottom section where the rabbits mainly get in – and now the deer! It has looked really pretty during the summer – and still does. I grew asparagus from seeds and when planted they were tiny whiskers and now that are thick and bushy plants. 8 tiny lavender bushes that I got from the market have now grown and flowered and smell divine. It is really is nice to take a walk down that end each time I am up there and just smell the aromas, watch the bees, and just take a moment to enjoy the beauty of all the different plants – next year they will big bigger and bushier and should really be an eye catcher. It will also mean that I can cut flowers from the allotment without cutting those in the garden. I have lots of plans for that area.

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