hard graft & some progress

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Mating beetles on Swiss Chard (16 May 2020)

It’s been a surprisingly busy few days.  I reached out to a fellow allotment holder and neighbour to see if she was ok.  Hadn’t seen sign of her for a while…  She’s a former colleague in the fight to save our local neighbourhood from the perils of ‘regeneration’ — as if local councils are ‘Time Lords’ like out of Dr Who and can supposedly regenerate whole neighbourhoods and communities with the wave of a wand and final swoosh of a wrecking ball!

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Bugs ‘doing it’ (16 May 2020)

Anyway, yes, she’s been shielding at home and not able to come up to her plot.  We agreed to give it a bit of a weed, turn over some empty beds, and prepare them for her beloved squash seeds, nurtured on her balcony.  In return we can use the other empty beds.  It had been left since mid-winter, so was in a bit of a state to be honest, but together, yesterday, we worked at it for a couple of hours.

I managed to turn over and weed two plots for her squashes.  And weeded a bit here and there, pulling at grass and tidying up.

The big guy snipped all the grass and then bagged it up – we’ve added it to the local community green waste collection by the council (thanks to a few willing neighbours with spare capacity for their own paid collections).

CIMG7769copyAn added bonus was that it seemed that that day was bug sex day.  A camera was on hand to capture their strange goings-on.

There were a few skirmishes… Was it a fight to the death? Or sexual mating? We’re not even sure if these beetles are friends or foes – but didn’t have the heart to interrupt!

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New brick path (16 May 2020)

Enough was enough and there were still things to do in on our own patch.  I finished by tidying the roses, selecting an exemplar of each to bring home and try in a vase.  The most fragrant and beautiful wins!  (One day in and I’d say the white rose is a clear winner – it’s opening up exquisitely and has a heady rose scent.  Gorgeous!

Back at our patch, I’d started a new brick path.  Every time we go up I try to carry up at least six of the blonde garden bricks that the woods group were gifted by the local builder who constructed the new housing units at the end of our road.

The bricks have been piled up in the woods, and we’ve used some about the wood gardens as well, but plenty have been shifted up to ours.

The new path leads down, directly to the very bottom boundary of our plot, where the tomato and sweet corn are planted.

The left curve ends at the end of our plot.

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Tomatoes (with sweet corn planted behind). (15 May 2020)

I managed to use all the bricks I had shifted up to the allotment, and need many more to complete the path, but it’s looking good so far!  Not a big deal to have a brick path in high summer conditions, but it will be a huge boon in winter, when otherwise the clay would stick in clumps to your boots.

I also took two cuttings of the pink rose in front of the newt pond, and brought up to the allotment some cuttings in wet paper towel and a plastic bag of fuschia.  So a pot of fuschia cuttings and a pot of the pink rose cuttings are both on the back shelf of the shed.

Today I added to that a new cutting from the damask rose – I did a trim and tidy, deadheading roses already!  And in the structural trim of the damask discovered a good growing branch with no flower bud on it – which is perfect for rose cuttings, or so I’m told.  Fingers crossed!

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Calendula to the side of the cauliflower patch.

None of the runner bean or dwarf french bean seeds I started have come up.  Likewise with peas!  Supposedly easy to grow, but not for me!  I’m not giving up and may have been using old seed, so tomorrow will start some new seeds, making sure I’m using the most up to date seeds.

It might be time to dump the bad ones – though saying that, I did just that but planted them in over on H’s side, thinking that nothing would come up, and lo and behold the broad beans that have come up in that bare patch look healthier than the ones I planted over on our patch!

But we need more peas, so I’ll have to keep trying.  The dream of the pea bed in front of the shed only has two pea plants growing – along with two squash seedlings.

It has been fairly cold at night these past few weeks, so maybe with warmer nights the pea seeds I plant might have a chance to germinate.  I may pre-soak them too…

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But all our labours were rewarded in an amazing strawberry harvest – the second of the year.  (We harvested tonight as well, but gifted that small crop to R – in recompense for his gift to us of his homegrown asparagus – yum!)

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About smallPaws

A tumbleweed from Canada who's been living in London for twenty or so years.
This entry was posted in allotment journal, diary, harvests & feasts, perennials, veg patch, wildlife. Bookmark the permalink.

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