What a pile of poo.

How does nature know when spring has finally arrived?

Clearly it does, as the lanes around here are suddenly awash with huge swathes of blossom.

Blossoming Lanes



I had intended to have a lie in this morning, but I never seem to sleep particularly late just recently, so after getting up about 8, I headed down to the plot around 11. On the way, I passed the house where they sell bags of horse manure in the hope they'd have some more, but the cart was unfortunately still empty.

Down on the plot, I made a point of taking loads of pictures whilst the sun was shining.

Asparagus shoots.

The asparagus is the one crop above all others that I'm really looking forward to sampling for the first time. Shame I've got to wait at least another year!

The production line.

One side of the polytunnel has become a production line. Patiently waiting to go out onto the plot is another horseradish (currently living in a slightly inappropriate shiny houseplant pot!), cabbage seedlings, a tub of native wildflowers - and my emergency reserve comfrey, kept inside in case the cold got to the cuttings planted out whilst it was still cold. The bed is now also home to 4 Gardener's Delight tomatoes and a couple of melons, all of which look pretty healthy - and a large ant's nest, which I'm not sure whether to try and remove or whether to leave be.

On the opposite side, cut and come again lettuce is doing nicely, as is the indoor beetroot I started in pots then stuck in the bed to try and get a crop as early as possible.

Cut & Come Again Lettuce

Indoor Beetroot

I also rescued a strawberry runner from one of the paths. Hopefully it'll settle in later in the year and I might be able to get more plants from it, as the ones I'm growing from seed aren't exactly off to a flier as yet.

Rescued Strawberry

Outside, my early peas look a bit worse for wear. I have a feeling it may be pea and bean weevil that has got to them. Hopefully they'll manage to outgrow it now they're uncovered.

Nibbled Peas.

My main crop peas now sown, hopefully they might escape the attack suffered by the earlies.

More Peas

Beside the polytunnel, the shady side is going to be put to use as a herb bed. So far, just some slightly lonely looking chives in it, transplanted from my kitchen windowsill pot. The bucket will be home to mint, in the hope it'll stop it spreading too far.

Herb Bed

The comfrey outside has suffered a bit from wind burn in the cold spring weather, but looks like it'll survive.

Comfrey

My first onion sets and carrots just getting going. I've planted the carrots between rows of onions in the hope that the onions will cover their smell, preventing carrot fly finding them.

Carrots and Onions

My two blackcurrant bushes. One looking nice and green and healthy, the other looking like it's clinging onto life. It still has a few green buds, so I'm praying it survives.

One Healthy Blackcurrant

One Slightly Less So

The permanent bed area. Not much left to dig now!

Permanent Bed Area

After taking pics, I set about planting out some more red onion sets. I'd only put in a couple of rows, as I don't tend to eat many onions only to realise that I'm likely to end up cooking and preserving towards the end of the year, so I'll no doubt need more than normal. I'm also planning to try making some home made tomato ketchup, so have a lot of tomatoes planned, but the outside bed is looking a bit sterile. It really needs a good dose of manure, but the only stuff I have is not rotted.

This afternoon became one of those where you wander around doing stuff, but don't actually achieve much. I guess I wasted a fair while stripping pallets for the timber. I've now taken a couple and begun to turn them into a raised bed. I'm a bit reluctant to do this, as I think they're a bit "in thing" at the moment and, more often than not, completely pointless - but I want to stick a few in my permanent beds area in case rabbits do prove to be a big problem. At least that way, it's relatively easy to net them off to protect salad crops. I've now got the timber together, but hadn't got any decent nails to finish assembly and my drill went flat on me.

One major positive was that, having taken a protein shake before heading to the plot, I was thankfully free of aches and pains and had a lot more energy than yesterday. It's clear I need to do this if I'm going to have a long day of it. I'm not sure whether I'll ever get to the bottom of my dodgy metabolism issues. I've got another appointment at Addenbrookes next month which will probably reveal more. What's abundantly clear though is that I need protein more than carbs to keep going. Which does just go back to my own suspicions, that I have an issue with glycogen storage.

As evening set in, a cool wind started to cut across the plot, so I called it a day, driving home past the manure cart again, only to find it still devoid of sacks. As that was the case, I decided to take a drive around and to see if there was any in neighbouring villages. We're right on the edge of the Fens here, half way between slightly rural and full on agriculture on an epic scale. As a result, there are hundreds of smallholdings and more than our fair share of homes with paddocks and horses.

Leaving the village on one side, the road is lined with smallholdings and paddocks. As I drove down it, I clocked a pile of bags by the side of the road so swiftly turned around and headed back to find it was decent sized bags of well rotted horse manure for 50p a shot. I dropped the back seats in the Landy, then set about loading up. Managed to get all of them in and, as I did so, the bloke from the house stuck his head out and had a quick chat, saying what good stuff it was. I ran the first load down to the plot, then headed back to return the bags to find he'd put another 4 out, so I took them as well. Might as well grab it whilst I've got the chance!

Emptying the bags onto the plot, it's beautiful stuff, which has really made my day, as it was one thing I really needed. I can't believe I'd ever be this pleased at having a huge pile of poo on my plot. There must be a good half tonne, plus a bag emptied on the tomato bed, which I might have to go and turn in one evening during the week.

Not wanting to drag the bags 90m down to the end of the plot, I reversed the Landy down the edge of the allotments and along the end. Doing this, I can get within 10 metres of the plot, which makes life a lot easier unloading heavy stuff. Whilst it's dry, I could probably get right to the back of the plot if I removed a buddleia stump sticking out of the end of one of the plots. Will have to have a word with the tenant when I get the chance to see if they're OK with my doing so.

Manure offloaded, I went for a quick drive around the local villages, partly to have a quick look at the allotments in one village and partly just to get out and about for a while whilst the sun was shining. I noticed that, everywhere I go just lately, I'm really smiley and waving to everyone. It's funny, but having a plot has definitely changed my outlook on life and I'm far happier than I have been for ages - at the same time, I think I'm probably a bit of a nicer person with it.

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April 11, 2010 · admin · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Construction, General, Vegetables

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