Friday, 23 May 2014

No Rhubarb Crumble!

rhubarb flower by incredible edilble
Sadly I have report the demise of my rhubarbs at the beginning of May. They threw up lots of  flowering spikes which I cut off and gave the plants  a mulch of well rotted compost and manure but to no avail they were dying. When I started to dig them up the roots had gone to mush and there was no hope of  their recovery.The crowns have served us well over several year.  The original two plants  were divided into four and had flourished for three or four years This year  there will be no rhubarb crumble made from our own plant on the plot.  This is sad because one of the joys of  May, for me, is to pick  and cook fresh rhubarb.

However the good weather over the past few weeks, has helped me to get on with my "to do  list" for my plot. There is a new urgency now to prepare beds as the french beans, sweetcorn and squashes have all germinated in my greenhouse and will need planting at the beginning of June. I have plants ready to go into my cut flower bed and I need to sow leeks for transplanting in their final position in August and still  the "to do list" goes on and on and on.....

I  made a start by digging a bed which had been flooded for several weeks in late winter.  It has a lot of weeds growing in it, a wonderful crop of plantain, grasses and other weeds.  I say digging but actually I have been using a garden fork which is gentler on the ecology of the soil and all the creatures living in it, which enhance the quality of the earth and benefit the plants.

I am going to empty the large wooden compost bin which has been cooking grass and tough plant stems for three years.  Hopefully there will be some good compost to layer onto bed 2 where I am going to plant the squashes and courgettes.  I will sieve the compost before I put in on the bed and add some well rotted manure into the mix then add more compost for the young plants to be planted in.  I am toying with the idea of getting a straw bale and putting that down first to make a real hot bed.   But as for now I am digging the to remove the weeds.  Luckily it was dug over at the end of December last year so the grass and weeds are not  rooted in too deep.

Slow worm
The only problem about emptying the large bin is disturbing all the creatures that have made it their home.  For many years I have had bumble bee nests on the plot, sometimes in the one of the  compost bins, I think my plot being flooded this year meant the queens steered clear of my plot. I have lizards and slow worms on my plot if they are there in the bin. I will leave the compost until September and go to plan B whatever that is! Slow worms are so vulnerable to us humans at the allotment strimmers cause harm to them, lizards and hedgehogs..  I  found a slow worm on one of the allotment paths it looked as if a car had run over it but it was still alive.  I picked it up with a handkerchief and moved out of the way.  It shed its tail which fortunately was were it was injured.  Many people do not realize that if you pick up a slow worm with bare hands the warmth of our hands can burn them as they are a cold blooded creature.

mmm maybe I will build
 a chamomile bench next.

photo  Morehaven nursery
My fragrant lawn is developing I have another tray of chamomile Treneague growing which I will take to the plot this weekend if it eventually stops raining.  I have put in some chamomile lawn plants in already and they are growing well. By July the plants, I hope, will have merged together to make a fragrant space out side my shed.  In the middle of which Pops dog has decided that the red clover plants will make a wonder bed for her under the shade of the apple tree.  Oh sigh, I have another half tray of penny royal mint plants to add to.the lawn they will grow under the apple tree as the prefer a shady position   Maybe Pops will like them as an alternative bed! 

It has been awful few days as far as the weather goes here in Hampshire, gloomy grey skies, blustery, chilly winds and heavy rain but hey the sun is breaking through now.   I going to take Pops dog for a long  walk through the park and maybe down to the beach. So I will wish everyone sunny days and good gardening.

With Reiki blessing to you


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