Sunday’s weather was not conducive to working up the allotment, so I spent the day doing big cook-ups of produce for freezing, and browsing through seed catalogues debating what to order for next year.
Monday I was able to spend a few hours doing work that hardly notices, like digging out flower beds, making gateways, weeding, and planting more cuttings and 10 January King cabbages, and protected them with plastic milk bottles to keep the pigeons off them. Whilst I was doing that I had a Hitchcock moment when pigeons were queuing up on the telephone wires that go across the field where my lottie is, and I heard a cacophony of crows really squawking – really eerie especially as I was on my own up there as usual. Still some colour up the lottie - a beautiful Sedum head.
I was also able to finally seed the proposed grass path 100 feet long and 4 feet wide which took me quite a time. I finished off picking more beans and cut all the remaining green tomatoes, three carrier bags plus a big bowl full too which weighed a staggering 25 lbs. I even blanched and froze the 6lbs of mixed beans, no wonder I felt so tired the following day. I needed to get so much done because (a) we were once again forecast rain, and (b) I had a trip to the physio first thing the next day.
Tuesday. Gosh the physio really put me through it, and I was glad that I took painkillers before I went. I felt really sick when I came out. Apparently I need an injection onto the tendon which is in the middle where the arm is attached to the shoulder socket. Sounds like fun – not – and I still need lots of work on my back and neck, so an ongoing project there then. At least I am getting treatment, so no complaints from me. More colour Rudbeckia - lovely seedheads for flower arranging!
Luckily Pat came with me as we needed to collect the lawnmower from Thetford. The little one that is. The chap said that it had a high mileage on it, and that the back wheels were a little splayed (Pat didn’t tell him that it is used up the lottie), he did advise us that it would be burnt out within two years, so we shall have to use it at home where we have a lot less lawn! Pat took a leisurely drive through the back lanes of the countryside home, and I got to look out of the window at the scenery, which was a novelty being a driver myself. I had a rest for half an hour or so before cooking lunch – yet another concoction of mine using 8 different vegetables I have grown and some herbs, and some cooked chicken added at the end.
Whilst it was cooking, Sheila’s daughter Tracy who manages Harrods (our village shop) called by with some strawberry runners that were destined for the compost heap, but I got in first. She stayed for a chat for half an hour which was nice, and I not only caught up on all the news, but as gardeners we exchanged information and tips as well.
After lunch I decided to take some painkillers and go up the lottie to plant the newly dug up runners. I also had about 40 little baby ones growing in pots – I did have more but the squirrels kept digging up the plants and putting walnuts in – as mentioned in a previous blog.
It turned out to be a lovely sunny afternoon, and as usual I had the whole field to myself. It was so warm that I was working in short sleeves – the first time this year, as I can’t risk being burnt in the summer sunshine.
I prepared three trenches about 25 feet long and filled them with pig manure, then planted all the plants. Tracy had given me 25 which she had pulled straight from the ground so I had to get them in quickly. The next two rows of 25 were ones I had grown in pots and other runners that I had grown in a nursery bed.
But by this time I was totally worn out after spending another three hours working and there were dark grey clouds looming menacingly overhead and I had lots to pack away. I didn’t leave before I harvested 2 cucumbers, lots of red and green Lollo Rosso lettuce leaves, some raspberries, and some French and runner beans. Pat phoned me just as I was leaving and the first spots of rain began to fall. We had a heavy downfall which would have watered the plants in beautifully for me, so that was handy.
Today, Wednesday, more painkillers and more sunshine, not to be wasted sitting indoors, and the rain is definitely coming later.
Another 4 hours working, this time digging up some strawberry plants out of the fruit cage which needed moving out of the shadow of the raspberries which grew bigger than I anticipated – something else I have now learnt on this huge learning curve I am on! Digging a trench and filling it with a barrow load of pig manure, and planting out another 25 strawberries – I now have a total of 100, so that should guarantee me a good crop next year shouldn’t it???
I took up the membrane in half of the fruit cage and rotorvated that and spread three barrows full of manure in there, and retuned the membrane to its previous position. Just then Tim came by to fix on the blade to our old lawnmower! Yippee! So rather than pack up and go home as was my intention, and with the threat of rain, I just had to mow all the lawns – which took ages.
I had to start with it on its highest setting (5) then go over it time and time again until I got it down to setting 2. It was all I could do to muster the energy to pack up everything and put my little rotovator in the boot of my car. Just as I was leaving to come home, Patrick phoned to say that he was back from golf, and that lunch would be ready in 15 minutes……Love is!
I had time for a quick shower and sat down to bangers and mash, French and runner beans, onions, carrots, and onion gravy, and it tasted sooo good!! All the hard work of growing your own pays off.
We have just stored 25lb of green tomatoes in a chest of drawers in the shed to ripen. I still can’t quite believe what an incredible amount of crops I have grown this, my second growing season. – Off for tea – home made raspberry and apple crumble made with jumbo oats and flaked almonds in the crumble. And it is raining!