Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Bring. It. On.

So I've just returned from one of the most confusing allotment experiences I've ever had. The weekend that Herb and I first walked on-site was a confusing allotment moment. We wandered around in amazement trying to figure out exactly what we'd taken on. The mixture for me was about 36% sheer dread, 33% complete excitement and 45% hay-fever. And that extra 14% is a bitch when you haven't got any tissues. Whatever.
Today was a bit like that for me.

I got back from work and headed straight up to the plot with a 4-pack of beers under my arm, bumping into The Dreadnoughts on the way who said "You've got the right idea, son!". I smiled.
So Herbert joined me and the confusion of emotions started.

Good Times: The sun was shining and it was a beautiful evening. At 6pm in May, when the sky is bright and the air is warm, England is as magical a place to be as anywhere else. It was truly wonderful - the bird-song, green spaces, flowers blooming, vegetables creaking into life, insects buzzing. Simply perfect. We drank a couple of beers and smoked a little into the evening sun. And yes I KNOW I'm supposed to be on a health kick but really, who could begrudge a man a beer and a smoke in such lovely situations as these? No-one? Good.

Bad Times: The recent weather has had strong effects on the honkjazz allotment. The potatoes, onions, raspberry canes, etc are doing very well thank you very much.
And so are the weeds. Really, the place has gone ballistic in the last two weeks. We've had brief spells of rain followed by brief spells of sunshine followed by rain, then sun, then rain, etc, etc. Which means that everywhere apart from the dug out beds (numbering four) have become completely overgrown with weeds, docks, creeping thistles and triffids. It's a terrible place to find ourselves because now we have to decide what to do with the other half of the plot.
Ideally we'd like all eight plots dug out in the next six weeks so we can fill them with swede, cauliflower, runner beans, carrots and whatever else we fancy. But the overgrowth is so extreme that there's no way we can dig. So the plan is.........

Have another beer and sit down to smoke wistfully for a bit..................

We have a two part plan. First we use the strimmer on the plot borders, around the relaxation area and all over the bottom half of the plot. We'll then use Round-Up all over the place - around the bed borders, in between the Belfast sinks, along the pathways, etc. That will take care of that invasion. Then we need to tackle the bottom half of the plot. I'd love to do it all by hand so if the newly strimmed ground is easier to dig (because tonight it was so thickly overgrown it was impossible) then we'll do that. If it's too late and the weeds have intertwined below ground level so much that we can't break them with the fork then we'll treat the entire bottom half of the plot with the chemical juice.
I guess that propels us into the organic vs evil chemical warfare argument but I don't think we really care. We'll be as organic as we like.
Deal with it.

After Herb left I wandered around the allotment site to see what everyone else was up to. At the top end I met a chap called Paul who shares the plots with The Dreadnoughts. After a brief chat he kindly offered his strimming services this weekend.
It's on.
With the help of Paul we're determined to make a good old dent in the ground.
I may well fashion some Mexican wrestling masks for H and I, just to strike the fear of Fray Tormento into the b*stard weeds!
In the immortal words of Apollo Creed.