Browsing Posts published in June, 2010

Look After our Spiders

Planting out the corn.

Sunday the 13th certainly was a busy day.

Planted out corn.

Planted out corn.

This photo shows a ‘mini-bed’ on the top plot finally planted out with some much-promised corn.

For seemingly weeks, Diane  has been continually asked; ‘But what’s going there?’ as visitors and volunteers entered the plots, past rows of onions, chives, sweet william, fragrant lavender and garlic, while pointing to a lone, empty bed right in the centre of the plot.

Well, today it was finally planted by Tina, Jon and Diane!

‘What are they going to find to question now?‘ Muttered Diane afterwards, though somewhat triumpantly.

Again, if you click a couple of times on the image you may notice the ‘Surprise Lettuce’ just visible planted around the edges. 

Nick thought that ‘Surprise Lettuce’ was a variety, but it was only ‘Surprise’ because Jon had come up from his plot further down the site with a spare tray and asked if we wanted them -hence the ‘Surprise’!

Maybe it was because it was getting late in the afternoon and therefore tiredness was setting in, but Nick had visions of the lettuces ‘waking up’ in the morning and thinking; ‘Where the Hell am I?’  His version of ‘Surprise’, but maybe you had to be there…

After Ian had left, Nick repeated the ‘earthing up’ procedure with the potatoes mentioned a couple of weeks ago under the beech tree on the childrens plot while Matt, Tina and Diane planted the rest of the corn in two beds on the bottom ‘demonstration plot’.  …This time however, without any ‘Surprises’.

Sounds vaguely disgusting, possibly illegal, but this is just what Nick and Ian were doing Saturday 12th June.

The bed involed was the very top-most long one nearest Herries Road, almost directly underneath some huge sycamore trees that need some serious attention, but thats another story for another day.

potatoes

Stobbed but not earthed.

If you click a couple of times on the photo to see it properly enlarged, you’ll notice all the wood down the left hand side of the photo.

This wood is from our woodstore, and we were just deciding which pieces to put where.  Here, Ian is teasing out some of the ever-present and oh-so-difficult to remove bindweed.

As you can see, this bed is raised slightly with long planks of wood.  This serves two purposes; namely raising the bed slightly to enable our ‘less agile’ volunteers to work more easily and secondly to give us more depth of soil in which to plant and grow as this area is very thinly sat on clay.

External stobbing

External stobbing

To ‘stob’ a bed (…probably a Yorkshire term, because I can’t find its definition anywhere…) is to hold these planks of wood in place.  They can be placed internally to smooth the appreance of the planking, but this is not as secure (…or easy…) as external stobbing where stakes of wood, normally eighteen inches to two feet long are hammered into the ground on the outside of the planking.  This is more secure because you are not relying on the strength of nails of hold back the planking -you have the depth of the stob into the ground to hold it in place.  Saves on nails too!

Close-up of stobbing.

Close-up of stobbing.

When the planking had been chosen, fitted and fixed, it looked like this, left:-

Notice that where there are two stobs very close to each other is where (…or very near…) two lengths of planking joined.

Throughout this operation, no nails or hammers were used -apart from a pretty hefty ‘incliner’ to ‘persuade’ the stobs that they really,  really wanted to be driven deep into the ground.  All good, clean, harmless (…and sweaty!..) fun!

The eagle-eyed reader will notice that here the potatoes have been ‘earthed up’ with soil that was in mounds either side of the lines and a different-coloured earth has been piled up in place of the mounds.  This will be used a few weeks down the line to further earth them up.

‘Why?’ You may ask.  Well, this is to encourage the potatoes growing beneath to grow only within these firmly defined mounds, making harvesting much easier and less time-consuming.

Allegedly.

Salad Burnet

A few weeks ago, Nick along with Mick and Ruth sowed a ‘nursery bed’ up on the top plot from which we could transplant to wherever once the young plants were hardy enough.

Young salad burnet

Young salad burnet

Saturday the 12th June saw the first young plants make the journey right down to the bottom plot to be planted on the ends of beds.

Here, Nick has just planted -and watered in three small ‘clumps’ of the herb.  Don’t let their small size fool you -within a few months, these will have spread.

Diane gave Nick some ‘homework’ to find out just what ‘salad burnet’ actually is and what it can be used for.

He came up with this Salad Burnet from the Web.

Nearly a month already…

…since the last entry in this section.

Have we been slacking?  Far from it!

You will remember the last few pictures of the solitary scarecrow, Skinny Lizzie; well we have now given her a family!

Ladies and gentlemen, may we present to you, The Crow Family!

Scarecrows

The Crow Family

Skinny Lizzie on the right has been joined by her Dad, Russell on the left and with her mum Sheryl in charge in the centre.  Russell insisted that his trousers be fully pressed before he would ‘go on set’, and Sheryl insisted that she be allowed to keep her gloves on for fear of getting common dirt under her manicured nails.  A big ‘Thankyou!’ to Tina for this act of sublime silliness!

On the planting and growing side, things have been getting a little silly as well.

You may remember that last shot of the inside of one of the plastic greenhouses (…more news on this later…).

Well, now it looks like this:-

full greenhouse

Full of growing things.

I think you’ll agree that’s quite a big difference in under a month!

The other greenhouse too, is full to bursting, such that almost as soon as the first shoots appear they can safely be moved outside onto tables just outside the greenhouses to ‘harden off’ without fear of frost.  As a precaution, every visit we make to The Plots, we always check to make sure there has been no ‘slugging activity’ by checking the legs and underside of the tables and under the blue crates as well.

Last year, we had a terrible problem with slugs, but this year we seem to be getting away with it. Maybe because it has been so hot and dry recently following the last really cold winter?

The evening went very well, but unfortunately, after being sunny for so many days previously, the weather broke so crowds were smaller than expected.

Also, the promise of ‘pedal power’ didn’t in fact materialise due to technical issues with the bikes and their hideously complex control circuitry, but this was more than made up for by the condition of all our plots and the enthusiasm with which we showed them off.

The seemingly endless and tireless work of all our volunteers fascinated our visitors, particularly the hand-painted earthenware plant pots used as signage and everything growing in both the greenhouses and the beds, and it was a great sigh of relief to hear from ‘Those In The Know’ that they were very impressed with our efforts.


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