Between the Showers

Just before lunchtime, I headed out to the allotment. The weeds have been taking over and the Nest House needed cleaning out. Stopping for a quick chat with Liz and Sarah, I quickly checked on Gertie, Winnie and Coco in the New Coop. Gertie was in the corner and the other two were finally off the perch on the ground. This was an encouraging sign. Pleased, I headed off to clean the Nest House.

My first job was to block the Nest House door. Rey took extreme offence to this and delighted in bashing her way through my baracade every few minutes. This was rather distracting and slowed the entire process down. Working at speed to try and finish before the forecast rain, I managed to remove all the old bedding and clean out the interior of the Nest House before heading home for lunch.

During the first torrential shower of the afternoon, we headed down to the plot to tackle the wall of weeds. We sheltered from the rain in the shed, I miserably looked out of the window, worried that we wouldn’t be able to do anything. Fortunately, the rain stopped and we dashed outside. As my husband worked on clearing the weeds around the Omlet, I grabbed the secateurs and the ladder to finish off taming the willow arch. Several days ago, I had hacked the willow back from the path and begun to prune the top. But I had ran out of time to sort the plot side of the willow. It took quite a while to go especially the area behind the stumpery. The top of the willow may not be entirely level, but it’s the first year it looks perfect, with no gaps or thin patches.

Next, I moved onto the wildflower bed. To my surprise, some cornflowers had flowered. I love cornflowers and had some in my bouquet when I got married. The bed was quickly cleared and I moved onto the back bed, carefully weeding around the surviving courgette plants. I discovered two plants that although they had been badly eaten, were still green. I hope that the removal of the weeds might encourage them to throw out some leaves again. Just as I had moved onto the bed opposite, I heard a cry of pain.

Dropping the weeds, I ran up the plot to find my husband holding his wrist. Apparently a wasp had suddenly appeared out of nowhere and had stung him. Wasps are nasty and are able to sting repeatedly unlike bees. They are known to circle back to attack again. Knowing this, I asked my husband if he had managed to kill it. He wasn’t entirely sure but he had hit it with some force so it seemed likely. We went over to the tap and ran some cold water over it. Within a few minutes, you could see it was swelling slightly. As we weren’t sure if he was allergic, we bought some ice creams from the shop and sat for ten minutes scoffing them. Ice cream is always a good idea, especially after a shock. Unsurprisingly, as he finished the ice cream, he headed back home. He really does have the worst luck with being stung on site!

Pottering down the plot, I began to weed between the potatoes. I love growing potatoes as they cover lots of ground, limiting the weeds. Slowly, I moved up the plot, eventually finishing halfway up. By now, it was dinner time and it was almost time to go home. The plot still needed quite a bit of weeding but it was getting back under control. I had managed to pull the worst of the weeds around the crazy paving but it wasn’t enough to kill them off. I am always loathe to use weed killer especially as the plot is so close to the hives. But an alternative is to use white vinegar. I have never tried it before however, family members have used it successfully. Grabbing the bottle of white vinegar I had bought last week, I gave the entire area a thorough spray. Only time will tell if it will be effective!

Armed with the vinegar, I moved to the patio. Again the weeds seem intent on growing through the gaps between the slabs. No amount of weeding ever seems to get rid of them permanently. I drowned the cracks with vinegar in the hopes this would kill off the weeds once and for all. For good measure, I also weeded along the edge of the path by the strawberry bed. The bed itself needs a thorough weeding and the older plants removing. I am pondering putting down straw around each plant to slow the weeds. The greenhouse also needs some work but there wasn’t time to tackle it this evening.

Time had gotten away from me again. It’s so easy to get distracted on the plot! I shut up the shed, picked up a large egg box and ran down to the fruit section to pick the black currants. I completely missed harvesting them last year – the birds had a feast. Very quickly, I had filled one side of the box, turning I picked a handful of tayberries and raspberries before heading towards the shed. As I passed the strawberry bed next to the greenhouse, I paused. Chances were the white strawberries would be ripe as they usually are ready after the red ones we have on Geoff’s plot. Needless to say, I was very late for dinner but I mollified my husband with a plethora of freshly picked berries!

The plan for tomorrow is to clean out the nest box in the new coop, finish off weeding the plot and sort out the greenhouse again.

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