A short slideshow looking back over last year.
A short slideshow looking back over last year.
Sometimes it is the little things that make the difference when it comes to having an allotment. All the wet weather recently has meant that in total I’ve probably only spent one full day on the plot since the start of the year.
In practical terms that’s not a huge problem, I’m ahead of where I need to be with digging and the soil is still too cold to sow any seeds, but it was nice to see that the Purple Sprouting Broccoli is just starting to show some florets.
Looks like there’s already a good meal there, and the start of a few more besides.
I walk the dogs every morning (& evening). Sometimes it feels the same as the previous day, often we meet the same people each morning. Sometimes something happens that’s different. Wilson found a falling autumn leaf this morning, in a rather unorthodox manner. A different aspect to my morning walk.
I’m frustrated and a little angry about the world today. It seems to me that the world we live in is focussed on bigger being better. That we need to grow, increase, develop, expand, and basically live beyond our means.
Have I had some sort of epiphany? Some kind of change of mindset. Well no I don’t think I have, I just think that the world is becoming more focussed on these things at the expense of what is right; ethically, morally, sensibly. That the rich will get richer at the expense of the poor, who will essentially become poorer as a result. It seems that politicians, whether they are local or national don’t care or don’t understand or don’t want to focus on living with in our means rather than always trying to reach beyond them.
I know that I’m ranting a bit but I was watching the video below of a lecture given by the scientist and author Dave Goulson. It’s worth a watch.
Essentially his talk is about the use of neonicotinoid insecticides in agriculture and the unintended consequences on bee populations, who are an essential part of the growing cycle as pollinators. It’s interesting stuff, but my takeaway moment from the whole thing was his analysis of population growth, and the need to increase food production (which starts around minute 49 of the video, if you don’t want to watch the whole thing).
Essentially the current 7ish billion global population is set to increase to about 9 or 10 billion by 2050, and it has been said therefore that we need to double global food production to ensure that there is enough food for everyone to eat. However currently we waste of 40% of the food that we grow, so we are already growing enough.
Other key points are that acre for acre, gardeners and allotment holders get between 3 to 11 times more food from their plots than an intensive arable farmer.
Enough is enough and seriously the world is just plain mad if anyone thinks that this is an acceptable state of affairs. We don’t need to continue to grow and expand, just live within our means and accept what we have.
Rant over. For now.
I’ve been a little slack posting here, so by way of a couple of videos, here’s an update on some of what I’ve been up to. I hope to have some news on the job front soon, and will cover that separately when I do.
We took the dogs to Emsworth for a swim yesterday. Only really the first time that Ruby has properly been swimming. The video is fairly low quality as I didn’t want to take my expensive camera out over the water with me, so I was using an older one, that I was less worried about dropping, but the quality isn’t as good.
Our garden seems to have become quite popular with a certain juvenile magpie, he’s taken a shine to one of the fatball feeders (rain or shine) and his acrobatics trying to get to the fastballs is quite entertaining. He’s fascinating to watch, particularly recently as he’s been trying to work out if he can dislodge the feeder from the tree branch to forgo his acrobatics (he hasn’t succeeded yet).
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about not seeing deer on my way to work in the mornings. I’ve been on “leave” the last couple of weeks, my official last day in my current job is tomorrow, which has obviously given me more time to take longer morning walks with the dogs.
This morning we were on our way around the fort when I heard something crashing through the bottom of “the moat”. Being Summer the vegetation is now green and lush, and it is difficult to see any distance, but I did glimpse the bouncing white tails of two Roe Deer. I’ve seen deer here before, but not that often as there are just too many people about. We’d obviously spooked them, and they weren’t hanging around, but it’s good to know that I still might see deer in the mornings.
Every morning as my train to work cuts through the countryside I look out of the window for sightings of deer. There are particular spots where they gather along the way, so often I know where to look.
In less than two weeks my redundancy happens and I will no longer be getting the train to work. At least not as far as I know at the moment. So I won’t have my daily deer sightings. I will miss these simple things in my day, even if I won’t miss that particular job. I know I’ll get my wildlife fix in another way, but deer have always held a special place.
We’ve been having a few issues with our broadband connection, which has meant limited internet time and speed, so although I was going to try and upload a video this weekend, I’ve not been able to. I will however try a few photographs.
It’s another bank holiday weekend so it’s meant an opportunity to spend more time than a regular weekend on the allotment. The weeds seem be growing exponentially, and are certainly growing faster than the food crops at the moment. I spent some time on Saturday just weeding. I’d planned to do some other things, but at the moment, it’s important to try and get ahead of the weeds, otherwise they’re going to crowd out the other plants. I feel like I made good progress, but there is always more to do!
Last weekend I planted some Cavolo Nero and Brussels Sprout plants which seem to have all taken well. These were followed this weekend with some Celeriac. The plot is looking quite full now, which is good. I harvested the first of the broad beans, which although were probably on the small side, were very sweet tasting.
Back in the garden I moved on the tomato plants that I’d been given, into their final growing spot. To do so, I had to move the last of the overwintering plants out of the potting shed to make room for them.
I wasn’t going to bother with tomatoes this year, having had such a bad season last year and I didn’t therefore grow any from seed, however as a fellow allotmenteer gave me some plants, I thought why not. One of the plants even has a small tomato on it already!
Monday is a Bank Holiday, so that’s given me more garden time. I’ve spent this morning clearing around the slabs in the back garden. I checked back through my notes and it’s only three weeks since I last did this, so I can see it’s going to be a regular occurrence if I want to keep the backyard pristine through the summer and not use any chemicals (which I don’t want to do).
I know the time span because I’ve been journalling more than I ever have done before. I’m finding that I’m quite enjoying recording my thoughts and observations, and I haven’t kept a proper paper journal for many years, probably since I took up blogging. I think it means that I remember far more when I come to sit down in front of the computer than I would otherwise.
I took a break from the gardening to finish a job application. My redundancy date isn’t that far away, so I’m taking more time to job hunt. I’m hoping to get a bit of a break over the summer, but don’t plan or want to be out of work for too long.
Anyway there’s still a lot of Monday left, and I’m intending to tackle the front garden this afternoon. I need to clear back some of the front border as it’s encroaching on the pavement a little, and again there is some clearing around paving slabs to be done as well as a few other tasks.
Until about the middle of last week, I’d forgotten this weekend was a three day Bank Holiday. I treasure my time away from work (remind me I said that after the end of July, when I’m redundant and job hunting!).
As the weekend drew closer, a little reading matter arrived on Thursday, with David Hewson’s latest novel, “The Wrong Girl”, and my reading was settled. I’d been looking forward to this book particularly as it is the second in a new series.
As is my usual habit on Saturday I headed off to the allotment. I took the lawn mower along to cut the grass, however the machine refused to start, so I settled for some weeding, watering and general tidying. The gooseberry bushes have set fruit, so I put up the framework of canes that will become the fruit cage once the remaining Loganberries have flowered and the bees have done their thing to set their fruit.
I saw my first Swallows on Saturday morning. A bit late compared to some, but I’ve been looking and hoping to spot my first local birds for a few weeks, so I’m pleased to have seen my first “Sky Jewels” of the summer.
I was also visited by another feathered friend while working. As I weeded a robin came and worked alongside me, as I cleared the weeds, he fed on the insects I disturbed. I suspect he has a nest and young nearby, as he was flying away and coming back empty beaked for more.
I harvested the first radishes, the last purple sprouting broccoli and some rhubarb. Other crops are coming along nicely. There’s a video to follow, once it’s edited and uploaded.
Dog Walking Sunday
The rains came late on Saturday and stayed through the night and until mid-morning on Sunday. In the afternoon we left for the woods to walk the dogs. The bluebells are in bloom and it was nice to spend time and look at the glories of spring. I need time in the woods occasionally to bring a little peace and balance to my brain.
The Best Bit of a Bank Holiday Weekend
Still to come, Bank Holiday Monday.