Thursday, 6 March 2008

honkjazz - The Allotment Part 9

Saturday 1st March, 2008

David Bowie once sang "Is there life on Mars?". The answer is, of course, no. If he'd have asked "Is there life on the honkjazz allotment?" the history of pop music as we know it might have been a very different story.
And the answer would be yes.

And there ends the worst possible way I could think of to start a post.
For now.

As you can see from these pictures, things are starting to move.
There's the garlic going mad, three weeks in.

And these are the gooseberry cuttings that Bob and John gave us.
(awful picture quality noted - I'll try harder next time)

Below you can see the first shoots on the raspberry canes which were also donated by Bob and John. (awful picture again - deal with it!)

And lastly we have the chives that my father lifted from his vegetable plot in Hampshire. Do plants know where they are? Oh, by the way Papa, Bob/John (not sure which is which yet) reckons you might have Garlic Chives there.

There's also a lovely bush that a couple of our neighbors have had a go at identifying but no-one's come up with a definitive answer yet. John/Bob said it would be good to keep because then you can take the missus a bunch of flowers once in a while. Flowers apparently being more romantic than runner beans. Who knew?

So at the weekend Herbert made his triumphant return to the honkjazz allotment and walked about like a 1930s school master judging the efforts of his charges in a Harvest Festival (wishful thinking). The progress was good he said. And on that mark he spent a couple of hours burning stuff in the incinerator. Which is nice. We also started the construction of the new and improved compost bin. Although they appear to be an allotment standard, I can't help think that the pallets are letting too much heat out of the compost. I thought that heat was the key to the rotting down process? So we'll build a better bin. And I heartily enjoy my kitchen becoming a stinking paradise of bagged-up vegetable peelings, used teabags and eggshells. No really, I do. In the same way as I quite like the fact that my car stinks of pigsh*t. Again, no really, I do.
And yes ladies, I am available.
(to explain, I picked up a load of pig manure from my friends small holding, that's all, I'm not just into the smell of animal crap.)
I busied myself finishing of bed number 2 and staking in a border around it. So now we have bed number 2.

And there's bed number 1.

Once Herb had left I whizzed down the road to my bosses where I sawed a couple of old doors up and grabbed lots of rubbish and old wood to burn. I do loves me some bonfire.
So I had an ace fire, probably the best fire I've ever made. And burning couch grass weeds is a very, very (worryingly) satisfying thing to do.
And that was the end of the day. I'm not kidding when I say that I probably spent like two and a half hours tending the fire.
Again, ladies.............

Sunday 2nd March, 2008
So today I started off by finishing the new compost bin. I think it looks ace. It's made from old doors. One I found in a skip, one was in my bosses garden rubbish pile and the last two halves (which will be attached by hinges to the top and front) are coming from a door that Herbert's sourced. The compost looks so much happier in here.

We also now have a toilet! Kidding (not kidding at all).
So once I'd finished that off, transported the compost to it's new home and taken the old one apart (leaving the pallets for our neighbors Mike and Sally to use as bed edging), I started on a series of fantastic tasks.
Firstly, I started to empty the giant dumpy bag full of roots into rubble sacks in preparation for a run to the dump. I then raised the two other Belfast sinks onto bricks (which is a really stupid thing to do re: catastrophic back pain) and put down a few paving stones.

Once that was done I marked out the shed level line with pegs and string and dashed home to grab a flask of tea before starting bed number 3. I had my little radio with me so I listened to Everton crush the hapless Portsmouth and got about a third done before rain stopped play at 5:30pm.
So another good weekend. Herbert is getting some cracking inside knowledge about spuds and he's bought some little carrot starting kits so we'll be getting those on the go soon. We've pretty much decided what we want to grow and sussed a rough time for planting each. We'll look into the soil types, planting techniques, protecting them against pests, maintaining the weed patrols, investigating crop rotation patterns, gathering materials and manure, listening to people and having a laugh.
Nice eh?