Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Busy planting

Tomatoes in (23 - mix of MoneyMaker, Tamina & Gardener's Delight). Another 12 in reserve in case i manage to find room for them!
Courgettes in (5) and Lovage in (3). Lovage is a real favourite here. It's really tasty and once established just keeps coming back in vast quantities every year. With three plants I could feed a lot of people who like lovage!

And there's a cracking great 'thing' on next door's plot. Any ideas what it is? It's probably really obvious and I should know having once been a botanist but I haven't a clue. Looks like an Arum lily but seems too big - it's a good 12 inches high.

Suggestions welcome

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Spud [earth] upping and Swan upping

The spuds are all up and suitably earthed up. Relic leeks removed and garlic patch weeded. New leeks in (Musselburgh). Seem to be having an Alliaceae theme!

Weather has been very changeable - lots of heavy showers, but at least I remembered to take the stove (no Kelly Kettle yet) so plenty of opportunity for tea breaks.

Meanwhile, back on the Chesterfield Canal, some swans are still nesting but others have got well past that stage.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Free as a Bird

No gardening this weekend - I've been gliding instead!!!

This was the Spring meeting of the East Pennine Association of Churchill Fellows, of which I'm currently Chairman. We usually go walking but fancied something more dyamnic, and one of the committee is a member of York Gliding Club, so off we went to Rufforth Airfield, just outside York.

Despite a weather forecast which promised heavy showers (and delivered them in Sheffield), gliding in York was excellent! Rufforth airfield is an old WW2 airfield, still in reasonable shape and used by the gliding club and various small-scale aviation outfits. Quite a lot of conventional gliders, a couple of powered gliders and an autogyro (which looked great fun).

Got a tow up to 2000 ft, behind a fairly basic plane,

then cast off. We found a thermal which took us up to 2500 ft and were up for about 25 mins. I flew it for a bit; managed not to pull the wings off or anything. Tremendous fun and would love to do it again.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Hoe, Hoe, Hoe - No.2 in an occasional series of favourite tools.
I like all three of these, for different functions, and like to see them shiny, indicating that they've been put to work, seeing off weeds in a cloud of dust. The long Dutch hoe is from that well-known purveyor of gardening tools to the gentry, Wickes, but I've no idea where the others came from! My favourite is the short-handled onion hoe, which is as sharp as a sharp thing and really effective at "slash and slice".

Allotment activities today? In a packed schedule I

  • hoed
  • weeded and tied in the blackberries
  • planted out 12 Parsleys (flat leaved)
  • got rained on (but not enough)
  • forgot to take the mouse-proof tin for teabags, but it didn't matter because I
  • also forgot to take the stove to boil the water anyway. Duh!

Chesterfield Canal Wildlife Hour
In an hour cycling along the towpath this morning I saw:
  • 2 swans a-nesting
  • 4 herons a-stalking (well, actually the same one 4 times; started to look really grumpy as he kept having to a-stalk a bit further away each time)
  • 1 moorhen chick a-having what looked like its first outing in the water. Very small and very low in the water, with much anxious a-fussing from mum, and
  • 1 vole, not so much "a-questing through the plashy fen" as a-scuttling hell for leather across the path.
No partridges, no pear trees.