Friday, 23 January 2009

The rain. rain, rain came down. down, down..

So, the ice thawed and the rain followed. Nature’s good like that. Send a little extra water to wash away the cold. Unfortunately there was no real spell between the two to help drain any of that iced water away before the rain followed. As a result, our usually clay bound, slow to drain soil to a big hit. Flooding returned as it has for the last few years and covered parts of the plot. I don’t have much of a slope on the plot but one side does suffer worse than the other.
Another job to put on the long term list: Raise soil levels on the left side.
Never mind, the side that wasn’t a boggy duck pond also has some of the recently installed raised beds. As a result, those beds drain easier and warm up quicker, especially if you’ve had them covered with black polythene since November. I managed to walk to the plot without getting soaked by the threatening storm on Thursday morning, taking with me a bag of shredded paper and all the packets of free seeds I’d accumulated over the year or more of subscribing to a weekly gardening magazine.
We’d purchased some onion sets and shallot bulbs from Wilkinson’s last week so I carried them to the shed too, just o my wife doesn’t hide them away somewhere sensible, and therefore lost to me, at home. I’d reckoned on not seeing the plot for the rest of the week at that point but the rest of the morning stayed dry and the afternoon got better so I chanced my arm and drove back to the plot where the covered beds were found to be quite friable and ready for planting up. I set out three short rows of Sturon sets and a matching three rows of saved seed from last season’s French bean Blue Lake. Only small amount meant that , should they grow, I would have an early crop for successional sowing to follow but, should they perish and die, I would only lose a manageable amount and not a whole bed.
As it turned out, I stayed for about three hours in the end , until the light began to fade dangerously, as I was sawing wood to fit more raised beds and a sharpish blade in poor light doesn’t usually mean good things for me.
I noticed some activity from one of the other plots whilst I was there and it looked like a new plot holder so maybe some new faces will start appearing with the spring. Last time I asked, the waiting list was above 25 people long , so either someone has given up or they have been cast off for a misdemeanour to ghastly to consider!
I understand the minimum amount of people requesting access to allotments to force action from a local council is 6, so 25 would mean they have to at least look at providing new plots somewhere. As housing has slowed to a halt due to the recession and growing our own is now more about economy than health or political preference, the council would be hard pressed to publically refuse such a suggestion surely?
Perhaps the allotments association should be looking into this?

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