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Still Digging (Part 9)!! More Delays and Stones

Alpine Strawberries
Alpine Strawberries From Last Season Flowering 13/1/13
  Okay so I realize that it's almost the middle of January and Winter weather is to be expected across the UK but just how much more rain is the ground expected to put up with into this year. The various weather forecasts seem to conflict from day to day and even the weather itself is fluctuating regularly. As an example of this, when I left my plots for home yesterday at about 1530 the weather was dry and cold with the temperature dropping enough to make my feet extremely cold despite the fact I was wearing 2 pairs of thick woolen socks. By 2000 the temperature had actually risen several degrees and remains at about +5 degrees with rain at the moment. Although I appreciate the very nice gardening related presents I received for Christmas, no-one decided to buy me a weather related crystal ball to help me in planning this years sowing/planting agenda. If anyone is planning a Summer holiday in the West Country this year my advice is to pack an umbrella and waders, forget the Bermuda shorts. I expect the price of fish and chips will go up next, due to the fish drowning.

Well that's the Monday morning feeling, moaning over with for another week and the sun is trying to shine through an overcast sky, its just a pity that the ground is already too wet for any work down the plots today.

Lower End of Plots Much the Same After Latest Downpour on 12/1/13
  Since my last post I have paid several visits to the plots, continuing to prepare the ground for this seasons sowing and planting. Last Tuesday I continued turning over the foot of the L-shape on Plot N1, parallel with the drainage ditch. This area is the lowest part of N1 plot and contains the shallowest amount of topsoil, a depth of only about 12 inches (30cm). The soil was wet and heavy as I turned it, removing the few perennial weeds. Lots of Goji roots were still present under the surface of the soil, these were all removed and composted. One root in particular was about 3 meters in length and had been growing towards my Rhubarb plants. A word of warning to anyone planting Goji Berry Plants, their root systems are very extensive and spread quickly, with suckers popping up randomly from the roots. Plenty of space is required to grow these plants. As I progressed along this part of the bed I was incorporating well rotted compost into the soil and breaking up some of the subsoil at the same time to give more depth and body to the whole area. Due to the wetness of the soil most of Tuesday, Wednesday and a further hour on Thursday morning was taken up completing the work on this bed. By this time the clay soil was fed, lighter and ready for planting. I then spent the remainder of Thursday morning, which was a pleasant, crisp, sunny morning, re-planting some more Cabbages into this years Brassica bed, turning in the compost from the surface of the bed at the same time. I was almost finished when down came more heavy rain, putting paid to any further progress until Friday afternoon.
L-Shaped Bed Prepared
Foot of L-Shape Plot N1 Weeded Fed and Turned 14/1/13
 On Friday afternoon I arrived at the plots about 1300. The ground was still wet from Thursdays rain but I decided to continue the battle against the Dandelions on the central bed of Plot N2. Only about 3 of inches (8cm) of the topsoil was actually still wet and slippery despite Thursdays rainfall. By late afternoon I had progressed back down the central bed another meter removing a barrow load and a half of Dandelion roots and stones. As dusk descended I locked up and headed home, relatively pleased with my progress.

Spring Onions
Last Seasons Spring Onions

Spring Cabbages
More Cabbages Re-Planted 10/1/13
 The heavy overnight rain on Friday and all day Saturday brought things to a halt again until yesterday, when I arrived at the plots about midday. They lower end of Plot N2 was yet again under about 4 inches (10cm) of water across the beds, with the remainder of the grass areas being very soggy indeed. Inspecting the beds on my main plot it was evident that they were being well compacted/flattened by rainfall. Despite 1 heavy midweek frost and another on Saturday night, the frost wasn't penetrating the soils surface to any extent and thus breaking it down. I decided to hoe over 2 of the beds yet again, or at least as much of them as I could reach from the paths. The idea was to loosen up the soil allowing wind/air to dry it out slightly and any further frosts to get more penetration further into it. By 1530 the temperature was again dropping so I called it a day, cleaned off my hoe and toddled off home for a hot cuppa.

Ash Trees
Mainly Ash Trees (No Disease)

Mal from Mal's Edinburgh Allotment will know why I posted "The Stones Photo" and why Sue was sent home from school?? I found the book in a cupboard, over the weekend while I was looking for some gardening magazines. I must be getting old when I can remember going to see their first British Tour (gig) that is for the ankle biters.

  There's always tomorrow!!


  1. What type of spring onions are they as we halve had bad luck growing spring onions for a while and they look quite healthy.

    Now you have people thinking I was a very naughty girl haven't you?

  2. My apologies if people thought you were being naughty because of my link text. I was just giving a mention to other peoples veggie blogs. Only the clever pupils got sent home, the others had to stay in school. The Spring Onions are White Lisbon which were sown midway through last year. Another row (Ramrod) which was alongside them has already been lifted and eaten.

    1. No apology needed - it made me sound more interesting. We've tried White Lisbon with no success.

  3. Rooko, you are the archetypical Brit: whingeing about the weather all the time, but soldiering on valiantly nonetheless, undaunted by the problems that beset you! Put a pump on your Christmas List for next year...! (or birthday?)

  4. Hi Mark, I think your right I've probably mentioned too much about the weather, but at the back of my mind I think in the not too distant future it will bring some drastic climate changes. Whingeing is a British pastime, I practice better in a Supermarket queue. I've had a submersible pump in my garage, unused, for ages. Just got a generator, so maybe when my ops out of the way it'll be up and running, with some lighting in my shed of course so I can whinge about the rain at night too.

  5. Well impressed Rooko. If your on top of things now just wait until spring! Mind you your rhubarb seems to think it has arrived already. I'd pop a bucket over that before the frost and snow arrives!

    I can't claim to have ever seen the Beatles - except at the St Alban's Odeon - Help!

    1. Hi Mal, I was getting on top of my new plot up until a few weeks ago but the weather has brought things to a halt recently. I wanted to see the Stones last month in London but tickets were over £300 each. I could buy a lifetimes supply of veg seeds for that kind of money.

  6. You put me to shame Rooko - you work so hard on your allotment - I haven't touched mine for weeks. You deserve to get some really good crops this year - I never realised Somerset got so much rain as you seem to get.

    1. Hi Elaine, Things have slowed down lately for me, very frustrating with the weather. I don't blame you for not working on your allotment recently. I am sure we will both catch up with everything later in the year.


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