Berries, berries everywhere!

The glorious weather meant we ambled down to the allotment this morning with the aim of clearing the weeds from the centre of the plot.

Upon arrival, I fed the chickens who seemed quite calm and composed until I got into the enclosure. Then all hell was let loose as they went nuts arguing over small bits of brown bread. Once these had been scoffed (it takes less time than you would think possible), I went off for an amble around the site.

As I walked past the bottom of Geoff’s and Cliff’s plots, I saw that a cat had managed to get itself locked into the fox trap. It was not happy! It was quite young with dense short black fur ad white whiskers and white tips to its front paws. As I tried to work out how to open the trap, I was angrily meowed at. The intention was clear, “Let me out now!”. As soon as the door was open, it shot off so fast I couldn’t work out which way it went!

The distant ringing of the tea bell meant it was time to catch up with all the allotment news by the clubhouse. All the usual gang were there and went spent some time trying to think of ways to help keep the pond clear. Mick suggested buying a proper pump for the pond as the mini solar powered one we have currently is a bit temperamental. Then Cliff came up with an idea of using an old car part (petrol pump?) and adding some tubing to it in order to make a functional battery powered pump. It sounds like an excellent idea. The only issue would be charging the battery – I have decided to see whether it is possible to get a solar panel on site to charge our electric tools and run the pond pump.

All the talk of the pond made me determined to clean out the pump filter which I felt sure was one factor that was limiting it’s effectiveness. It took a while to prize off the base of the pump and clean it out. It was worth the effort as the cleaned pump worked cheerfully. Cliff and I then collected oxygenating plants from the other small ponds at the back of the site and planted them into two terracotta pots. These were then lowered carefully into the pond. The hope is that these plants will help clear the water and provide a better environment for the fish. Mick the Greek is a bit of a pond expert and has been treating the water to try and improve it. It has definitely improved over the last couple of weeks.

My other half decided he was hungry and disappeared off on a mission to find food. He came back with a portion of chips from the local chippie and we sat in the community garden, enjoying the views and listening to the birds chirrup.

Then it was back to hard work – my husband was busy hoeing the main plot whilst I attempted to clear the overgrown strawberry bed. Sadly, it has become so overgrown that most of the plants are struggling. Now it’s clear, I hope they will not die but we can be fairly certain that we won’t have many strawberries this year.

On the plus side, the tayberry bush is going crazy, producing lots of good sized berries. They are quite tart but are delicious! The golden raspberries are also ripening quickly. Each berry is smaller than the raspberries we have grown before but they are just as sweet. The blackberries and wineberries are starting to flower so we are looking forward to scoffing those in the week ahead. The black currant bushes are doing well however the gooseberry bushes are currently buried beneath about a ton qof bindweed and grass.

Just before I left, I started to trim down the bindweed and grass around the fruit trees. The heat by this time was getting intense so I beat a hasty retreat home.

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