Preparing for the Growing Season

I may have been somewhat over-enthusiastic yesterday in Wilkinson’s. Hauling the loot home took ages! This morning after breakfast, I raised our egg boxes to find three big ones to put on the window sill in the dining room. There is always something so exciting about putting the potatoes out to chit. Maybe it’s because it marks the first part of the growing season, or reminds me of the previous summer when the allotment was green and full of life. Whichever it is, the potatoes are now chitting on the window sill. This year, I returned to two of our favourite varieties, Charlotte and Nicola. These are both first earlies so they will need to be planted in February, followed by our main crop potatoes, Wilja. I’m still on the lookout for Vivaldi seed potatoes but I may have to scout about to find some.

With the potatoes chitting away, I headed down to the plot. The sun was out, the sky was blue and there was a light breeze playfully ruffling the feathers of the blackbirds. Due to the poor weather, and having to go down in the dark for weeks, I decided it was a good opportunity to air out the shed. I pinned back the door, grabbed some gloves and headed across to Geoff’s plot. The strawberry bed was my first port of call, removing all the old leaves and stems as well as a few remaining weeds.

With that done, I moved onto the next bed. To my surprise, some of the kale has survived the winter. But my biggest surprise was finding what I thought was grass, only to discover it was garlic! It seems I may have accidentally overwintered some garlic – but here’s hoping for a bumper crop this year! The weeds in this bed were quick to clear and so I moved onto the last bed.

This was a completely different kettle of fish. The weeds were stubborn and absolutely refused to move. After pulling off all the leaves to no avail, I headed back to the shed to arm myself with a small hoe. It took some serious hacking, but half an hour later, the bed was clear! Watching my every move was a beautiful little female blackbird and two tame robins who were born on site last year. I was rather pleased with how the beds looked. As a finishing touch, I got out the brush and swept the paths between the beds.

When I stopped to look at the time, I realised I was late for lunch! I quickly dashed around the chicken coops throwing out treats and collecting a couple of eggs before closing up the shed and heading home.

After lunch, I headed out into the garden to check on the Topknot Gang. Their nest boxes needed fresh bedding so I spent a happy hour cleaning them out. As usual, the second I let them into the nest box, my work was inspected closely. Very closely when it came to Cirrus who immediately went into the nest box. Despite my best efforts, she did not approve of how I had put the bedding into the nest and spent several minutes throwing it around until she was satisfied. The others weren’t allowed a look in!

Over in the purple Omlet, Arcus and the others were not happy about being shit out but showed slightly more appreciation for my efforts. Although that didn’t stop Coco and Aurora digging through the bedding thoroughly. I’m hoping it will encourage them to lay more now that the days are getting longer. Only time will tell…

The plan for the next few days is to clear the weeds from the beds on the willow side of the plot. I’ve been battling grass and weeds for the last couple of years in two of these beds and I am determined to deal with them once and for all.


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