Saturday, April 09, 2016

Spring has sprung ,the grass is riz ..

We are on our way to London by the Sea *, and then London . In Brighton many people do not celebrate any Christian Festivals , so Its Happy Winter Holiday, Happy Winter Solstice ,  Happy Spring and  Happy Vernal Equinox. That is ALL PERFECTLY CORRECT. The seasons and the turning year have been vital loci and the Cycle of the Year,and have been so before Abraham was called out of Ur. For those of us in Temperate Regions of the Earth  I feel we are blessed to have four distinct 'Seasons', with or without Vivaldi and Robert Herrick.
This year we have not had a proper Winter on our Filey Allotments. 
  • The frosts have not come so all the slugs have been chomping away on my chard 
  • The water in the baths has not frozen so my duckweed mistake has not cleared up. Here I explain . I have a small pond , well actually a washing up bowl sunk into a cold corner behind the greenhouse. It was accidentally  colonised by 3 pieces of duckweed when I was careless in acquiring some frogspawn last Spring . I netted it all out into the water baths , but now my 3 pieces is now 3000 . I was hoping to have a goldfish or two in my water baths . I try to keep them on my plot as they eat some duckweed, and the mosquito and midge larvae which I hate , being  one who just cant afford to be bitten , and why I never go to Scotland after May . 
  • The grass on the paths has had to be mown since February
  • Geoff ,two plots away has overwintered some huge Echiums in his cold frame without fleece
  • The Green manure Phacelia is germinating nicely already between the rows of Autumn Fruiting raspberries
Self righteously I have sifted through every plant pot in our back yard which bear only last years compost and the remnants of the Pelargoniums and V bonariensis which never made it through . I'm blaming the Vine weevils which I have delighted to find like treasure and abandon to the Starlings on a saucer. 
Bernard has been at work in the greenhouse with Jeyes Fluid. I am self righteous for him , modest as he is with his thoroughness. 

He wants me to clean out the water baths but I am pretending I have not heard him. I have found dozens of Water Shrimps,Gammerus pulex swimming happily , where they have multiplied from the one or two which were hiding in the duckweed, and a surprising number of StoneFly larvae. I always hope for the ephemeral and thus eponymous Mayfly larvae , remembering a childhood of watching for them to emerge as adults by the River Dove (off )at Kirkby Moorside  and thus enable my father to tie the trout fly with the three tails . I am intrigued by the title of the newly published How to read water (from puddles to the sea). Its a book with my name on it. 

Its all change on Filey Allotments as plot holders move to smaller or larger bits of land , and we all settle into new relationships with our new neighbours. It doesn't take long to realise where one fits in the lines of measure, where 10 is optimum 
  • Tidy to messy line 7
  • Pristine to ragged edges 1
  • Quality of  maintenance of sheds 2(I have a new roof)
  • Provision for disposal of perennial weeds 10 (incinerator)
  • Provision for disposal of of rubbish 10 (Bernard and I take it all home)
  • Condition of soil 10
  • Condition of boundary fencing 3
  • Efficiency of water storage 7 (yet to put drainpipe on greenhouse)
  • Brilliance of planting schemes 10 in my eyes, 
  •  nod to companion planting 9 
  • microhabitats 10
  • Tidiest water bath lids 1(neighbour is 10+)

By doing the no-dig cultivation I hope to eradicate all weeds on my plot. Its very hard for me to weed. I did my Thesis on WEEDS, and they fascinate me to the point of tedium for others. Last year I was delighted when a Black Spotted Medick Medicago arabica appeared without permission amongst my Chard with several Violas and a Lobelia seedling , until I realised that my meticulous allotment partner emptied all his bedding plant containers and garden pots from home into our compost heap. My thick mulch round the Chard row had housed the seeded anomalies much to my delight . I am wondering where the piece of info that Twitch grass is killed by secretions from the Mexican Marigold has actually come from and whether it helps me at all .
So Im leaving you with a picture of a  tiny Pearlwort the weed of the Filey Pavements . I like it ,but it is an invasive species, and walking on it in trainers may transport the seeds everywhere.
*post started 2 weeks ago .