The Longest (busiest) Day

The list of things to do was long and it included a fruit cage and a greenhouse (the ‘greenhouse’ was actually one of those plastic tall things from Wilkinsons).

There had been a mixture of sunny days and small bursts of rain during the week and so I was not surprised that the plot needed quite a bit of weeding even after a week. A lot of digging out bindweed and hoeing off the small weeds in between the onions. Good to see all the onion sets have sorted themselves out and are looking onion like, the ones from seed are still looking like tiny bits of grass. The overwintering onions from seed are looking very much like onions. I was pleased to see all of the first two rows of potatoes had come up, I noticed one or two of the second lot of potatoes were following.

I bought a load of tools up the plot. This included a hammer which meant I could straighten the path by the raspberries where the edging had fallen over months ago spilling out wood chip onto the raspberry bed. I hammered in a pre-made wooden stake, straitening up the path and tidy it all up.

Moving onto the broad beans and I was happy to see quite a number of pods growing, some of them ready for picking if you like small baby broad beans. Something of a success after a very cold start to the year which killed off a lot of early flowering plants, they all bounced back (apart from one) and now look like they were ever in trouble.

I planted out some strawberry plants that were potted up from runners at home and have been in (too small) pots for months waiting for something to happen. I filled some gaps with them.

The main part of the day would be the building of the fruit cage. The wood I used was off of someone’s roof what I took out of the skip from a neighbour last year and had been storing it ever since. In the autumn I moved the gooseberry bushes to be next to the currant bushes so that everything would be in the same place. I had hopped to have built it all by now, but never got round to it. Seeing the buds of new fruit appearing on the bushes last week I thought I could leave it no longer.

By the time the battery in my drill ran out (it was on half charge before I started) I had built the basic shape. Due to ease, I made the cage just slightly shorter than I had wanted which means I have a gooseberry bush sitting outside of it, but there is room for it to come inside in the Autumn when I can move it. I re-visited later in the day, armed with a different battery and put on some more finishing touches to make it more rigid. It’s not completely straight or square which is fine and was never the intention (I would had packed my spirit level and square if I had wanted that), just something made out of a waste wood to do a job. I put over some green scaffold netting over bits of it just as a temporary bit of covering.

I didn’t get it completed, even on my second visit of the day. I wanted to use some of the time to pick up some bags of manure that get dropped off for 10p a bag and use it to make a bed for squash plants that I will plant out at the end of the month. Such plants have always dried out and died when I’ve attempted it on the plot before, although at home last year we had a good result with butternut squashes. My thinking was at the plot it is constant sun throughout the summer which dries the clay ground out quickly and the squashes die or certainly never thrive enough to do anything. I’ve sown loads of different squash this year and will split them between the garden and the plot. I’m hoping the extra organic matter I have dug in will help it loose it’s clay qualities, I might even shade it a bit (but not too much) for full on day long sun to help things, at the same time as knowing they like a lot of sun. A hard balance know.

Between the two plot visits I worked in the garden putting up the little plastic greenhouse thing we got from Wilkingsons in a a sale for about £2 a couple of years ago. I wasn’t going to use it but I soon found that I was lacking growing space undercover outside which means our window sills are fully of small plants. I felt that once I had potted up the millions of tomato plants I just would not be able to keep those indoors on the window and so the little greenhouse would have to come out. Straight away I popped in the parsnips (yet to germinate) and filled the rest with the said tomatoes. A mixture of tumbling Toms (I’ll keep at home), some black tomatoes, yellow delight, and plum tomatoes that will end up on the plot. The troublesome sprouts seedlings which I seemed to have hardly any germinate so far until this week when millions popped up, were put into seed trays. I also put in the sunflower seedlings.

Other seedlings were put into the ground. Spinach and spring onions join the lettuce that is already in the ground. Nothing has grown much yet, it’s been too cold and so the plants just sit in the ground waiting for the end of the cold snap that will hopefully soon be over. It is May now after all.

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