Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Allotment notes

The recent heavy rains have relieved us of one chore: visiting our plot and applying copious amounts of water had become a daily event. I say our plot but in truth Chris is the official plot holder and she took it on very sensibly, suspecting that it would be of some help in her recovery from cancer (why do so many people either avoid that word or slightly lower their voices lest, it seems, some taboo is broken?). I understand that some, to my mind enlightened, doctors in the N.H.S. have also been encouraging patients to embark upon this form of therapy.

Anyway, it has been, for me at least, a doubly positive experience: obviously we have enjoyed the experience of growing - and eating - the fruits (literally) of our labours, but I have invariably found something of interest in terms of botany or mini-beasts. One lesson, not involving mini-beasts, is that gooseberries left uncovered will soon find themselves gorged upon by wood pigeons!
Not all the crops were 'the fruit of our labours'. The blackberries were
 wild - but very acceptable. 31 July, 2018

When Chris announced her intention of having an allotment I had visions of me spending hours digging the plot but I have got around that by advocating and applying a 'no-dig' policy. In truth, given the few years I have left, the soil structure will have had little time to recover before someone else takes over, perhaps without the same concern for pedological matters beyond that of short-term fertility. Eh bien!

Only their first year, but the raspberries are yielding well.
Our allotment at Drayton. 31 July, 2018
We have picked dozens of courgettes but the leaves are now covered with mildew and seem to have ceased functioning. Our squashes may go the same way, but they were only for ornament anyway. The Patty Pan examples seem to be doing reasonably well - so far.

Patty Pan squashes lurk under the leaves and this had avoided my search
for several days.
We grow some flowers and have been delighted by our cardoons, originating from the garden of our friend Lynda Moran. A camera does not do them justice but they are now a good eight feet high.

Our cardoons are attracting squadrons of bees.

I was about to leave today when I noticed an extremely tatty Comma butterfly on a runner bean leaf. Time-worn it may have been but after pausing for a photograph it flitted away smartly enough.

Hailstones? Certainly this comma has seen better days. Our allotment,
31 July, 2018
As far as I can recall this is the first Comma, Polygonia c-album, I've seen this year. Oh dear, what are we doing to our planet!

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