Didn't get much chance to spend a lot of time at the plot this last few days, despite the fact that the time has been available.
It was the weather you see.
I was off work on Thursday, as is my want, as it was my day off. I work in retail therefore working Saturday is a necessity, so a midweek sojourn is the not only the norm, but also a useful chance to visit the plot.
As it was, this being a religious holiday, I chose to take the Friday and Monday off and make a long, if slightly stuttered, weekend of things. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a bible clutching church going idol botherer but, like most who fill in forms as 'C of E' because they can't commit to atheism, I am happy to take advantage of the proffered sanctioned day of rest. My dedication to Saturday furniture sales meant that I could only take two days off, work one, then take the other two. Well, two days off in lovely sunny weather would have been great but then the weather didn't play along. Thursday was grey becoming wet and grey , Friday wasn't much of an improvement but I managed a couple of hours Thursday and returned after work on Saturday to stand beside a blazing bonfire for three hours. I managed to plant out the healthiest of my sweetcorn plants and the asparagus crowns I'd been given on the Friday between showers.
Sadly amongst the newcomers, there have also been a few casualties. The two butternut plants I raised from seeds saved out of a Tesco squash look to have been slugged nearer to death than the economy. A few of the newly emerged seedlings sown in situ at the plot are also Absent Without Leave. The Kale surprisingly one of the worst sufferers.
I don't mind losing a few plants as I've never been a huge fan of it but I do hate losing a battle with the pests regardless of the crop. I'm not sure which pest it was but I think I know where it came from. The edging boards on the beds are a boon for keeping the soil in and raising the temperature a little but they do provide a handy hiding place. The seedlings nearest those boards are always the ones to succumb first. I need to pay particular attention to trimming back the grass that grows along side and any detritus that gathers at the edges. If I can collect some copper strips or buy copper paste to smear on the top of the boards then it might help deter old Mr Slimy Slug but I need to think of something ridiculously cunning to stop the flea beetle or whatever flying or crawling beastie causing this damage.
Ah well, managed another hour or so at the plot today, Sunday, during which I started to clear a 1 metre square of top grass , which I then covered with the old sprouting stems and topped off with the upturned turves. I plan to build a stack of upturned turves as I clear other parts of the plot left 'fallow' for a little bit too long. The idea is that stacked upturned turf decomposes to become a lovely substance called loam, the basis of soil based compost mixes.
I did it last year on a small scale and, a few bindweed roots aside, it went very successfully. I now plan to recycle my top covering of weeds this way. You see, I wasn't just letting things get a bit untidy, I was secretly planning ahead and growing my loam!
Back at the ranch, the tomato seedlings and baby peppers are healthy enough but don't seem to be moving along very quickly. The slugs have hunted down and wiped out all but one of the butternut plants at home too.
The leeks are not getting any larger so I think it's time for more potting on. I know leeks get transplanted out on the plot eventually but these need to be bigger before they reach their final soil.
Tomorrow I plan to do great things, clear a plot wide stretch to take the maincrop potatoes, use the turf for the loam stack and maybe fill the runner bean trench with manure and compost. As I say, that's what I plan, the weather may decide otherwise.