Wednesday, 17 May 2006
This is not going to sound as though I did much today – but it took four hours to do it – with a bit of resting here and there in between.
After letting out my Ginger, Adelaide and Kokko, and spending ten minutes making a fuss of them and collecting three eggs from the nest. I took out the broccoli stalks that I gave them last night and was surprised yet again that they had scoffed the lot! These were huge stalks, and I put in extra as we were forecast torrential rain, so that if it was really bad they had enough fresh greens for a couple of days as well as food and water!
I topped up their food hopper and gave them fresh water supplies 4 litres. They always get four litres a day but never drink it all. It is just in case they get extra thirsty for some reason – well really it is more for my peace of mind now that they are not in the garden and I don’t keep popping in and out to see them and check them.
The next task I set myself was to finish weeding the two flower beds that I have been working on, and to sow lots of packets of annual seeds – and by lots I mean about 20 packets! They are packets that I keep collecting or get free with a magazine, and have been kept in a fridge so should still germinate O.K. If they do the beds will be absolute show stoppers.
There are four different sorts of sunflowers – pale yellow, the usual standard sunflowers, and two sorts of red sunflowers. There are three varieties of poppies, lupins, salvias, asters, delphiniums, wall flowers, and so many more you will have to wait and see what develops over the summer.
But for now it is a sea of different shades of green in brown speckled soil.
I stopped to take a few photos, and have a rest – take my painkillers and eat a banana!
The view from the meadow and over the fence are the flower beds that have been sown with annuals. Irises are in bud, delphiniums, red percicaria, salvia turkistanica, cardoon, grasses, and stuctural plants form the frame work, then the bare ground will be a bouquet of the brightest clash of colours and flowers you can imagine - if it works out and they all flourish!
Then Geoff came over for a chat, and I then had a guided tour of his allotment – he wanted to show me how well all the different varieties of potatoes that I gave him as seed potatoes are doing – his went in earlier than mine so are much taller and really look healthy. He is growing rows and rows of potatoes and broad beans, and he already has over 100 runner bean plants growing and that was only on one row!
Off he went home for lunch and I weeded and hoed the pumpkin patch to be. Dug up yet more dastardly dock weeds, and then did the same to where the bean frame is going. More digging up of pesky perennial deep rooted weeds along the ‘pathway’ between the bean frame and the first raised bed had to be done before I could rake it all over, then erect my bean frame. The same way as before. Strong bale string, with canes pushed through and twisted around to hold it all rigid and firm. It worked a treat the second time – so this is a method that I will use every year from now on.
I planted Cherokee Trail of Tear climbing beans directly where they will grow – two to a cane – along one side.
The netted lettuces in the first raised bed - actually starting to look like little lettuces are only a week of being transplanted little seedlings. All without water too.
More of my summer mixed salads germined without any watering - brilliant - now they will really flourish with their first taste of rain.
Then my last job was to plant some yellow dwarf bean seeds, pack everything away – and just then my phone rang – the golfer saying that he was home (half an hour earlier than I had expected so I got caught out as he knew what time I left – an hour and a half before he did! Onions on the right, left to go to seed so that I can gather it and save it for next year. Tepee dwarf green beans, and behind I sowed yellow dwarf haricot beans. I do successional sowing to try and avoid a huge glut all at once.
Sorrel - for cropping later in the summer and over winter, and mini cauliflower seedling - both gasping for a drink.
I just had to pick some sorrel and spinach for banties – they look forward to that every day and it is amazing how much greens they can eat too.
Talking of banties, a friend emailed me to say that she locked her broody banties out of the nesting area and they were back laying eggs within a week! Dilly on the other hand must be thinking that she is hatching ostrich eggs as she still sits tight and attacks. So today I decided when I gently lifted her out of the nesting box to collect the egg, and so that she would eat and drink and get some exercise, I shut the door to their little house. When I looked later she was right up the top of the run, next to the house, had made herself a little nest of Aubiose that I use in their run, and when she got up the eat some greens she was sitting on an egg.
You should have seen the antics I had to get up to, to retrieve the egg. The rake and broom were not long enough to reach down the end of the run, and I couldn’t reach it by putting my arm in the side and bending it through around the door! So I had to get a garden cane and like a world class snooker player, had to gently nudge it towards to door opening within my reach. Watched by a bemused and baffled trio of bantams. I am only thankful that Dilly did not decided to run and plonk herself on top of it, thus foiling my cunning plan!
Because I was so late back ‘the management’ had already made the decision to have our Thursday treat today instead. So he had made the potato wedges which were cooking in the oven and all I had to do, was to cook the rare breed delicious bacon that I get from Paula, and four bantam eggs whilst the boss cut us a nice thick slice of my crusty loaf.
The torrential rain arrived this afternoon, and I have a nice warm glow inside me that I got most of the jobs done that I wanted too. Poor bowler is out on and bowling green rolling up his woods together with a lot of other gentlemen, getting drenched to the skin – all in the name of sport.
Me? Well I have just blanched, vacuumed packed and frozen the fresh asparagus that we bought yesterday – enough for six meals. There would have been more but I couldn’t resist nibbling on some raw spears as I worked – perks of the job! His lordship always cringes and moans, ‘I don’t know how you can eat every thing raw’ and walks off making choking noises – but he was out when I ate the asparagus today. Do you eat things raw. There is nothing quite like grazing on your home grown food whilst working up the allotment on a sunny day. In fact I could take a plate up there, some mayonnaise and have a summer feast in a few weeks time!
Off to put my feet up, take yet more wretched so called pain killers which should be reclassified under the Trade Descriptions Act, and have a mug of lovely warm goats milk, a doorstep of my crusty multigrain bread, spread with my own creamy butter and dripping with the village beekeepers runny honey.