Hi-hoe, hi-hoe, it’s off to work we go!

Today was a busy day down the allotment – I went down with a few things in mind and ended up doing several different tasks!

Firstly, I fed the chickens who seemed in particularly good form today. There were 5 eggs (2 Vorwerks, 1 Cream Legbar, 1 Black Rock). The Black Rock egg looked strange – it was massive but the shell was all wrinkly. Very odd. But still delicious!

Next I occupied myself with the continuing problem of weeds and breaking up the enormous clay clumps that litter the plot. With Rachael’s help, I moved the greenhouse cage to the right side of the plot, freeing up the ground for me to eradicate the ever present weeds. I made good inroads to the weeds and clumps, making slowly making my way down to the halfway point before having a break.

Upon seeing Mel transporting glass from the greenhouse Rachael’s second plot to her own (she has a plot the other side of Cliff – a mere three plots across from ours). Rachael has decided she doesn’t need a greenhouse and has generously given it to Mel. Once they had extracted all the glass, we all congregated to move the frame and base. We made an interesting group – Mel, her husband, Cliff, Will and myself – lugging the frame across several plots before depositing it on Mel’s plot.

Next, I decided to replant a gooseberry bush which had seeded itself partway down the plot. Fortunately, I have managed to offload a rhubarb plant on someone so I have space for a new gooseberry bush. I am hoping that this one will be a red gooseberry which has a much sweeter taste than the normal white one. Once I manage to dig out two more of the rhubarb plants and give them to Rachael, I will have room to plant the other gooseberry bush which has appeared behind the fruit trees. I suspect this gooseberry is an offshoot from the old gooseberry bushes that used to be there before the chicken coop was built.

I went back to hoeing for a while and made it a but further down the plot. By which time my arms and back were sore and I called it a day. Due to the colder weather today, the hive check has been postponed.

Michael caught me to tell me about his new way to beat the slugs – an ingenious use of shredded rhubarb leaves scattered around the base of his lettuces. It’s clearly working as not a single one of his lettuces has been slimed or eaten!

Later on, Mick the Greek caught me to tell me that he had come up with a way of repairing our greenhouse using a new wooden prop and a small amount of concrete to stabilise the entire structure. The concrete was wet whilst I was down so I have done nothing with the greenhouse today to ensure his work isn’t ruined. It still needs a few bolts to ensure its permanent stability which will go in over the next few days. It looks like a very strong and effective repair!

Whilst pondering the soggy parts of the plot, I have struck on an interesting idea. Phil’s plot, which is on a level with mine, never floods. Is this due to Phil’s magic or the fact that his plot has regularly spaced trees along its length? Trees naturally require a large amount of water and in strategically planting some trees, could it stop our plot flooding?

Next question is what to plant? I have been recommended a Victoria Plum by Steve and Willow by Rachael. I like the idea of planting rare and different fruit trees. I have found an extremely rare fruit tree which I would love to grow – The Plymouth Pear. It is named after the city and produces small brown pears. Identified as a vulnerable British species requiring special care, it would be amazing if I could grow some on our plot! It currently grows only by Charles Church in the centre of Plymouth and also in Cornwall, Northern France and northernmost Spain. This makes some botanists believe it was one of the last trees to come across to the UK before the last Ice Age some 20,000 years ago.

The added incentive is that my maternal grandfather was born and lived his entire life in Plymouth. He spent his life caring for the city’s heritage, especially it’s buildings. I am sure he would be extremely proud if I could manage to do my part in preserving a piece of Plymouthian history.

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