Today we’ve been collecting more manure from Phil for our pumpkins, and came away with eggs from their small flock of hens. A fox got into the coop late last year & wrought havoc, as they do; these are a new flock just beginning to lay, producing beautiful pale blue eggs. Time spent collecting manure is also time to catch up with Phil and Anne, & play with Mutley, their young collie. He demands attention as usual, so time at the stables is divided between throwing a battered ball for him, and filling manure bags, then drinking tea.
During the last few days we’ve been preparing beds, lifting the last of the leeks, dividing bunching onions, re-planting some, harvesting most. One of our neighbours has sycamores growing on her boundary; we cut down the smaller trees for her and used the timber for terracing. There’s sycamore and ash, apple trees too, on the unassigned land bordering the lower entrance to our site. The sycamore needs removing as we’re planting the area with native species (mainly Ash & Hazel); the allotment association is managing the area as a long term project for the production of Hazel & Ash poles, an attempt to cut down on the amount of bamboo we buy in each year.
Using the felled sycamore, we’ve created another bed near the top of our hilly plot, dug out of the chalk & filled with the manure we’d collected, plus seaweed – we plan to try sweetcorn & courgettes here; we have also cleared land for a second greenhouse. It has to be constructed by May as the tomato seeds have germinated & are growing strongly. At the moment we have a frame and several panes of glass, so in the coming weeks we’ll be skip hunting, looking on Freecycle to source polycarbonate to complete it. For now we will concentrate on getting the frame rebuilt.