I’ve done it! I’ve finally made a start on the dreaded extension and, so far it has absolutely lived up to all my worst expectations of what I thought I would find under the blue tarpaulin, but more about that later.
This week has been quite weird. It started out fairly normal, although I am starting to think about leaving a job I’ve done for the last 10 and a bit years so I guess that’s quite odd but the week has got progressively weirder until we hit full on bat crap crazy yesterday with all manner of utter bonkers behaviour to deal with and culminated, after the consumption of a little too much raspberry gin, in me, drunkenly accepting the offer of a Star Wars Scalextric set! (most people come home from a drunken night out with a traffic cone – not me!) I can only hope the weirdness dials down a bit from here on in because I’m not sure any of us are ready for another day like yesterday!
Rest assured though, everything is completely normal on the allotment. We’ve managed a few visits this week and we’ve made some progress.
The squash patch is looking decidedly dishevelled, but I harvested quite a substantial butternut squash from it the other day so, clearly looks aren’t everything! There are still squashes growing but they’re not really big enough to pick yet so I’m going to leave them for a bit longer.
I help out at a homeless feeding station once a week – we provide a hot meal and tea and coffee. The lady who cooks the meals often asks the people who come along what they would like her to cook the following week. This week she asked and was told they’d really like some vegetables as they don’t often have them. ‘I have marrows from the allotment’ I heard myself saying to which I was shocked to hear one of the homeless ladies say ‘I LOVE marrows’ I have, genuinely never heard those words come out of anyone’s mouth! So now I have to find a nice marrow recipe. It will make me super happy to use some of the veggies I’ve grown being used at the homeless feeding station.
Louis joined me on the plot on his day off from college this week. He wanted to help so I asked him if he’d water the plot for me so I could carry on digging. Bless him, he tried to wriggle the watering can under the netting to water the brussel sprouts. I (eventually!) told him how to do it the easy way and just water through the netting. I’m actually quite impressed with how quickly the brussel sprouts have grown and the netting seems to have solved the caterpillar problem.
Yesterday it rained – a lot. With absolutely no planning on my part (I’m really not that organised) I dodged the rain (yay! I still hate rain) I popped down to the plot in the morning. It felt really damp and rain was definitely in the air but the rain stayed away while I was there and I was able to finish digging the strip of ground next to the green manure bed.
The peppers are prolific! There are so many of them now I’ve stopped counting. None of them are very big and I’m not sure I can leave them outside for much longer because we’ll soon be having frosts and I’m not sure if they’ll survive. I’ve just googled it and it looks like I’m going to need to harvest them soon as they certainly won’t survive a hard frost.
On the flipside of this – I’m waiting for a frost to harvest the parsnips.
The green manure has started to grow. Lots of green shoots have appeared in the bed next to the parsnips (which is where I planted it so not a massive surprise!) I’m really hoping this works as it seems much nicer to cover a bed with plants over winter rather than tarpaulin.
So, as mentioned earlier, I’ve finally made a start on the extension, I couldn’t put it off any longer. I was hoping to make a start on it this morning but a combination of too much gin last night and forgetting I’d made a nail appointment at 8.30 this morning (she got quite a shock when she arrived and I was still in my pjs!) meant it had to wait until this afternoon. The first thing I had to do was relocate the wood pile. It’s been put behind the fruit tree buckets (where most of it came from originally) Once the tarpaulin was clear of the wood I was able to unfold some of it to get to the ground underneath. It totally lived up to all my worst fears. It was less digging more excavating as there was so much rubbish. On a plus note, the tarpaulin seems to have done its job as most of the weeds were dead.
It’s only taken me just over 6 months but today I finally worked out it’s much more efficient to put the rubbish straight into a rubble sack rather than putting it into the rubbish box then transferring the rubbish from the box to a rubble sack afterwards. Seriously, sometimes my lack of common sense astounds me!
I really didn’t dig very much ground today mainly because I was just picking up rubbish. This included a sock (to go with all the shoes?!) some laces, lots of glass and quite a long piece of plastic piping.
I’ve really just done a superficial tidy up of all the obvious and ‘just under the surface’ rubbish. I did dig up some pretty big bramble roots though which is always satisfying and it does feel good to finally lift some of the blue tarpaulin. I know I’d been putting it off for a few weeks but now I’ve lifted some of the tarpaulin it feels like I’ve turned a corner and I’m hoping it won’t be as bad as I’m expecting.
Rhubi’s doing well. Nothing much else to say about her – she’s just there, getting on with her thing.
Here’s how I left the plot today. Pretty pleased with this week’s progress.