Spring has suddenly sprung upon us! Just a few days back I was clad in thermal leggings, jeans, wool sweater, and a down coat taking photos of frozen lakes. Now here I am today in a long sleeved T shirt digging up the nettle roots and bricks holding my wrecked polytunnel cover in the ground and thinking about seed planting! It went from – 4 to 9 deg. in one day and seems to be sustaining it’s temperatures. The mind is dizzied! Hope I can keep up!
I’ve been making the most of the sunny weather. I’ve almost finished digging manure into one side of my allotment. Sounds dreadful but it’s actually non smelly matured stuff, (the fresh manure is for autumn I discovered). It’s actually pleasant to work with, though hard work to dig in a foot down!
My baby lettuces are sprouting in their trays getting ready for transplanting and all my other leafy stuff is planted in mini plastic milk bottle “green houses”. (The root veg are waiting on the non manured bed being finished off).
I’ve even planted flower seeds in a kitchen tray for the pots outside my apartment. I love to see the first tiny shoots coming up after the winter. Spring is here, but it’s hard work sometimes – still it will help me get in shape for summer clothes lol!
My grandson just surprised us all by getting top marks in his SATs (an 11 year old UK placement test). He has a good mind but has trouble retaining concentration. None of us were expecting he’d do more than scrape by. But it is not of this I wish to speak.
He unexpectedly scored high in another kind of test yesterday. I asked if after school he’d help me get to my allotment and haul the water for me (it’s quite wild and hard to negotiate wearing a surgical boot). We are in the middle of a heat wave and though my allotment friends would water my plot in the circumstances I was not sure how many knew of my accident.
I didn’t know how he’d react. My daughter has a “high flying” job with apple money but little time so tends to pay her kids to do everything. I decided to put him to the test and offer nothing. To my surprise reimbursement was never mentioned, instead he acted the perfect gentlemen lending his arm for the dodgy bits and using his new forming muscle to haul the two big watering cans six times down to the river and back (a 50 yards of windy paths). This whole was exacted without a complaint (that water’s heavy) and total concern encouraging me to rest on the chair during his trips back and forth. Both sweating as we headed for ice-creams (it was over 30 deg. remember) I told him I hadn’t been sure he’d decide to help me. He looked shyly over and said, “of course I’d help you – you’re hurt. You won’t take advantage of that will you?” I assured him I wouldn’t think of it, but I was very happy he’d helped and now the plants wouldn’t die.
He’d passed another kind of test, to my mind an even more important one. I could see, not only was he able to apply his mind when needed, but more importantly he was growing into a caring and compassionate man.
Sometimes in this modern world we can put so much emphasis on IQ and natural abilities, but this kind of test any child can pass and it is, I think, even more important for our planet than SAT scores.
Whist weeding my allotment one of my fellow gardeners turned on their strimmer to attack the shoulder high grass and weeds that are forever trying to encroach on the edge of our plots. Suddenly a deer jumped out and zigzagged through the plots a few feet away. I knew they visited the allotment and love to dine on our carrots (did you know deer are crazy about carrots – I didn’t).I’d even seen one a couple of times dart across the path between the lakes in the evening, but I never realised they could be hiding so close at hand for the odd nibble!
(It was the same type as pictured above – didn’t have a camera/phone handy.)
Time re-evaluate, plan and procure. My allotment was not so successful last year, due to neglect and various bug and blight attacks. Having more folks growing is great but it seems to mean there’s more chance to catch stuff (a bit like going to school). My glorious tomato plants I’d taken such care with died a withered white death from one day to the next (along with everyone else’s) when blight hit the allotment. Even my improvised net curtaining (a tip from one of the experienced growers couldn’t totally keep the cabbage white caterpillars at bay, (a case of too little too late). Needless to say I no longer coo at cute white butterflies!
I must admit also the allotment suffered a good deal from my involvement with my daughter’s relocation (see “Boomerangs”). So this year, will I do better? I hope to, starting with some questions. Do I really want to grow brussels when they never seem to reach a practical size? Should I buy onion bulbs rather than seeds (I found that’s what the successful onion growers did,) My responsibilities should ease around March (just in time) so I have a good chance!
Do you grow some of your own food? It’s well worth it if you can. No need to worry about GMO or pesticides and the exercise in the fresh air will do both mind and body infinite good – especially if you have as nice a crowd of fellow allotment folks as I’m blessed with