Week 8

 

After reading last week’s post my agricultural adviser pointed out, if my mum is advising me on which flowers to plant she is, in fact my horticultural adviser! So, I stand corrected and apologise to my one and only agricultural adviser, from now on to be referred to as AA because I’m tooo lazy to keep typing Agricultural Adviser all the time!

Easter holidays for us this week so lots of spare time to work on the plot. One of the first jobs I wanted to tackle was the shed. There was quite a lot of stuff left in there from the previous plot holders but since finding out they aren’t coming back I felt I could clear out the shed with a clear conscience.

 

Armed with 2 rubbish bags – 1 for recycling and 1 for rubbish I set about making it a clear, useable, space that both Richard and I can use for storage and working in. Actually, it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I first thought and I was finished within an hour with a bag full of recycling and a second bag destined for the tip.

After clearing the shed I checked on the rhubarb. Disaster! Slugs and ants and the top of the taller stalk had broken off. My first attempt at growing anything and within days of putting it in the ground it has been invaded! So disappointed. While clearing out the shed I had found some slug pellets, so, following the instructions (I know – bit weird for me) I sprinkled them around the rhubarb, picked the slugs off (yuck!) and put the pot back over the top. I spoke to my A.A. and he said there’s not much I can do about the ants and, hopefully the slug pellets will deter the slugs.

The next day, Friday was another sunny day so I convinced my son to join me (and for ‘convinced’ read ‘bribed’! He’s not a big fan of the allotment at the moment – maybe when we start planting and things start to grow?) It looked like he was just going to sulk…sorry, sit in the shed playing on his DS but when I started sweeping the shed round him he decided to put down his DS and help me (the rapidly growing dust cloud forming around him may have helped to get him moving) He did a grand job of sweeping the shed so we now have a very tidy and pretty clean shed.

Having cleared the shed and added another bag to the rubbish pile I felt we needed to do another trip to the local tip. My son helped me carry some of the rubbsh bags to the car and we managed to remove 7 bags from the pile so it’s looking a lot less intimidating.

Before we left for the tip I checked on the rhubarb. Taking a closer look I think the 2 stalks to the side of the taller one have rotted – due to all the rain we’ve had no doubt, which isn’t great. From what I’ve read the ants are only there eating the rotten stalks and there were no slugs so it looks like the slug pellets may have worked – hooray!

Saturdays are usually pretty busy for me but I’ve been trying to get down to the allotment each week even if it’s only for an hour. This week was particularly busy but I did sneak a quick visit in between my other plans. It was a dry day which was a relief after so much rain so I was able to continue digging the trench for the border. I’ve discovered, much like my sewing I’m really not great at digging in a straight line. The edging is really very wonky and it was only after I’d finished I had the brainwave of using a decking board as a guide to keep the edging straight. Too late now so my edging will have to remain a bit wobbly.

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Rain again today – well, it is April so it’s to be expected I suppose. I knew I could work in the dry shed so I donned my waterproof and headed down there. I rolled the big black tub into the shed and used a drill borrowed from my friend (how have I made it to 45 years of age without owning a drill?) to drill drainage holes into the bottom of it. It was, surprisingly tough to drill through but, after a bit of effort I have a potato planter with lots of holes in the  bottom to let out any excess water.

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I rolled it to where I want it on the plot and covered the bottom with a layer of rocks and stones from the very handy rock and stone box conveniently placed next to the shed. I’ve left it like that for the time being – partly because it was starting to rain quite a lot and I wanted to get home but also to test the drainage holes before I put any potatoes in it. Planting the potatoes will be a job for next week.

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I tentatively checked on the rhubarb again today (I can see this could turn into an ongoing saga!) and I was pleasantly surprised to see a brand new stalk breaking through. This has made me very happy and hopeful for my little rhubarb plant.

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That’s it for this week. I’ve just checked the forecast for next week and it looks like we have more rain on the way – at least I’ll find out if the drainage holes work!

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