It has been unbearably hot, and yesterday even I couldn’t do any work up the allotment except to spend an hour first thing in the morning so that the chooks can have a good run around and scratch in the soil, then back in their big run in the shade.
I let them out again last night from 7.30 until almost 9pm as I went up to water the urgent plants that need to be kept ticking over – but when I say water, it is not a can full per plant, but about 2 litres for each one. My water tanks are all but empty, maybe one more watering or two at the most and that is scooping out the dregs at the bottom. I covered them with black plastic to stop evaporation – and if I am honest, to make it a bit more difficult if anyone took a shine to my water as the water levels really did go down fast.
It was so hot last night whilst I was watering, you would never think it was late – in the middle 70’s f. The sun was still shining at 8pm when I took these photos.
This is where I did the muck spreading the previous day. Four inches deep, and at the rear you can see the side of the huge compost bin.
It is rich, dark, and wet, and not a bit smelly at all. It was layers of green matter,horse manure, and shredded paper, - nature did the rest. I did this last year, but looking at the dry soil you would never have guessed it. The worms took it all down over the winter.
More than 36lb of goosberries from those four little bushes (in front of the rhubarb) in the left of this picture and on the right of the other one, is all the proof I need that the hard work pays off handsomely.
The other day when I was planting yet more climbing beans to replace the ones that refuse to grow (this is my fourth attempt), I found out the possible reason why. I stuck my dibber into the mulch and soil and it disappeared!!!!
I made a big hole to retrieve it and found that there was a tunnel beneath the surface. And everywhere I stuck my dibber, just a few inches under the soil was another tunnel. Probably a mole or two. After that I was more observant and found the same thing on the potato plot, and at various intervals.
You might remember that there was a murder on the lottie earlier in the year when I discovered the body of a mole where my raspberry canes are. And there was me feeling sad for Mr Mole, but happy that there were some, as it meant that at last my plot had lots of worms to aerate the soil – I had been lacking in worms due to the neglect of the site with not a bit of compost or manure being put on it for years, so that the soil was compacted. Do moles eat bean seeds I wonder? And other seeds or plant roots?
I didn’t spend yesterday being idle (apart from an hour and a half having my nails manicured and painted.)
I had picked 16lbs of gooseberries that needed cooking or freezing. I topped and tailed them all – have you ever done it? It takes hours, and is worse than watching paint dry – but at least it was the last of them. I gave a neighbour some for a crumble, and made 8 jars of gooseberry seedless jam.
I had some more jars given to me; they were coffee jars – Dowe Egberts – with lovely glass and plastic stopper tops.
Despite making a great seal, with the heat of the jam it was not possible to create a successful vacuum because the tops popped off. So I used the good old faithful cellophane and elastic band to seal the tops. I will keep the stoppers to give away with the jars as once they have been opened they will be able to reseal them with the tops.
Had the morning off today, too hot to work and needed to go into town for an hour. Once home though I have been topping and tailing blackcurrants, almost 13lbs once prepared – these have been frozen in ‘jam making’ quantities for future use. I am all ‘jammed’ out at the moment and I want to save some for other combinations.
I will not be able to post on here over the weekend – very busy doing other things which will prevent me being sitting here tapping the laptop.
Don’t desert me though as I will be back on Tuesday or maybe even Monday if I can get the time.
Not like me I know – but it is our Wedding Anniversary, and Pat has sprung a nice surprise which will force me into taking a back seat up the allotment and doing something completely different instead!