Saturday, May 27, 2006

Who would spend two hours in torrential rain up an allotment?

Saturday, 27 May 2006

I think that I must be ‘nutty’ or eccentric. The reason being that I felt really poorly when I got up – silly shingles pain got worse – Doh. We had the most horrendous rain (it only stopped at 5pm), but I decided that I would go up the allotment.

I had to pop in to the village shop to get a bag of ericaceous compost for my little blueberry plant, and wanted to give T a big bag of compost to take home to her mum in ‘payment’ for the six Money Maker and Gardeners Delight tomato plants that appeared on my doorstep yesterday.

Whilst there – there was another animal box, with oranges, tangerines, grapes, a leek, a bag of stalks (off the cauliflowers) a few ripe apples and a few peaches.

The leek, stalk, and some fruit that was really past it went straight on the compost up the allotment, and the peaches, and some grapes, the KoKKo, Adelaide and Ginger got when I put them back in their run, after two and a half hours.

Under gardener came with me, expecting the rain to stop – but it didn’t. Still it didn’t stop me. We dug out one compost bin of well rotted horse manure. (Well muscles dug, as he said I shouldn’t, but I removed and weeds that had grown through it from the next allotment – bindweed – the roots were like spaghetti deep in the manure).

He trundled it down to the netted area that now has four rows of peas starting to grow in it, and tipped it out for me and I dug it in – in rows.

I then planted out eighteen of my tomato plants leaving lots of space in between so that I can easily hoe between them. I slipped over each one a plastic milk bottle carton, and we banged in stakes behind each one.

The reason, (in case it is not obvious) that I plant everything in rows, North to South, is so that the plants get the optimum of sunshine on them from East to West. I the rows were the other way around they would be shading each other.

I also planted out more white, black, and ball shaped courgette plants, and some ridge and bush cucumbers. I have about 30+ tomato plants hardening off at home to go in later.

By this time we had spent over two hours up there and were soaked through even with ‘waterproof’ jackets on.

The chickens had had a whale of a time scratching about in the borders of the meadow and feasting on the worms. When I went to put them in their run (well I don’t actually have to put them in, I just call them and they come running) Adelaide and Ginger were drenched, their feathers really dark brown, with the white under layer of feathers showing which made them look striped.

At first I thought KoKKo might have escaped, but when I looked in the nest box, she was just standing up having laid and egg. She was perfectly dry which made the other two look really scraggy, but it is amazing how quickly they dry out – especially as they have a long dry run.

I threw in some peaches and apples for them and left them happily pecking away at them.

The track was flooded and slippery, so left under gardener to lock the shed and manoeuvre the car down the track, whilst I went on ahead opening the gates.

The rain was pouring down all the time so I could not possibly take photos today but here are some I took yesterday.

The top 18 inches or so of this Achillea eaten by a deer! If it grows again, the flowers are a wonderful golden yellow and flat like plates and dry so easily to use in arrangements all through the winter too.

Some surviving broad bean plants that did not get trampled and flattened, with nice fresh pods on them. I think that I will pick them small and eat the pods too.

This was a gorgeous red perennial opium poppy - one of several eaten!

This was one of them before someone had it for a meal!

My first yellow flag just opening - I hope that the rain does not ruin it. I have some purple ones too just about ready to open.

Luckily the browsers, peckers, and nibblers do not like gooseberries.

But the rabbits do like Rudbeckias - you can see how it has stood up its hind legs to eat as high up as it can - but hopefully as this grows into a giant it will still flower.

Lollo Rosso, loose leaf and Webbs Wonderful lettuce, some ready to start picking.

I will thin out the rows of Rocket, re-plant some in the netted area with the peas and tomatoes, and pull some up for eating now.

My second yellow flag iris with the promise of more buds to open.


  1. i sew my leaf lettuce very close together when I harvest it I use a pair of sissors and cut it off. it will grow back in a few days and will have more lettuce. I sat 2 hens today have one that will hatch next friday. loved you pictures as usual.

  2. More chickens in the offing - do you have a market for all your eggs Patsy?

    From which breed are your eggs?

    Did you order them by post?

    Lots of my salad leaves are cut and come again crops, and last righ through the summer, but I do love a crunchy Webbs Wonderful Lettuce.

    Last year I had so many that the village shop bought a couple of dozen from me and they were snapped up in a couple of hours!

    Lovely to hear from you as usual.

  3. MY daughter sells some eggs at work. I just like doing the chicken thing. it like a kid waiting for christmas. it like what will i get, my son is coming to get my heavy hens because i am tired of them. so thought i would set some large eggs. I have Rocks And buff Orth. miked. I realy like the Bantie best. the flower Lady's slipper is protected here but no one could ever find it behind Fletas house any way. I doubt if Fleta knows where it grows.


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