There is still half the plot to dig over from grass, but with a week of rain and rain forecast for the whole weekend there would not be much point trying to continue. Instead, with a small break in the rain, I decided to bike up and have a go at pruning the gooseberry bushes.
I don’t know much/anything about pruning and so I followed what it said in the book, the three main points:
- cut back new growth by half
- reduce side shoots from leaders up to 2″ in
- cut out dead and crowding branches
It was hard to know where the new growth from the following year might be, or the last time they were pruned. All the wood either looked dead/dodgy (and so I cut it out) or if crowded/crossed over (and so I cut it out). The rest, I cut down by half and thinned further bits out. Time will tell how this will work out over the year, but afterwards it all looked a lot tidier and a better place to start with and work on next year.
The rain returned, the wooden paths we made the other week from old pallets were working well. Even without touching any mud, everywhere was a see of mud, all over me, all over the tools. It seemed to be a day for muddy cross country too, not by me but in the field adjoining the allotment. While I was the only person in the allotment, in the field were hundreds of people running around the muddy field. Lots of shouts from spectators of “go on my son!”, even though a lot of the runners looked pretty old. A gunshot from a starter gun and a big cheer, and the children’s race started. Even more shouts of “go on my son”, although there were clearly daughters taking part too. I couldn’t tell if Fiona was doing well or not, but she was getting a lot of shouts of encouragement.
I had done what I could for the day, it all looked a lot tidier.