Can you believe we’re halfway through the year already? These lockdown days are passing too quickly for me to keep track! Winter and spring flooding meant we got off to a slow start, but it’s been three months since the water receded and we’ve nearly finished addressing the storm and water damage.
Do you remember what our greenhouse looked like?
It didn’t fare too well, did it? Rob is ever resourceful though, and from pallets and polycarbonate he created a giant replacement cold-frame-cum-greenhouse (CFCG, for short). It’s now stuffed full with tomatoes, chillies, and basil plants. Well, not stuffed exactly – we’re trying to be good and allow enough space around the plants for ventilation.
There’s even a water butt collecting rain from the CFCG’s roof that can be piped directly back into the CFCG.
We thought, now that the water table is higher than it used to be, that we’d dig a new well. There’s only a couple of water taps on the allotment site and during a pandemic it’s probably a good idea to reduce the numbers who use them. So, to save us the wheelbarrow trundle across the site, and to save other people from our germs, we’ve become the proud owners of a hole in the ground:
It needs a little finalising and strengthening, but it’s secure from wildlife falling in, and Rob has fixed a solar panel to the shed roof that runs a battery-powered pump that tops up our water butts.
Speaking of the shed (tenuous link, there), lockdown has given us the opportunity to finally fit-out the inside. We now have a potting desk for me, and plenty of shelf and cupboard space. There’s still a little work to be done, but we’re not far off completion.
Rob also has ideas of turning the shed into a pub… Or ‘shub’ as he’s now calling it. He’s made himself a bar area, and only yesterday he sent me a photo of his new beer garden…
The final bit of structure we’ve added to the plot since the flood is a pallet fence to hide the compost bays and untidy storage area. Not all of the mess has gravitated behind the fence yet, but I’m sure we’ll eventually shepherd it in that general direction.
I’m growing Rolet squashes and Alderman peas up the pallets. Empty spots don’t hang around for too long before I come along and plant something.
Not all of our beds are back up and running. The worst flood-hit ones are very compacted and need a bit of work. We’re slowly making our way through them. We hope to raise the levels of the beds as the years’ progress so one day they’ll be above the water level should it flood again.
This year I intended to have a *small* cutting patch, but I commandeered a bed and a half… And the shed beds. Oh, and the bed by the gate. And a small sweet pea bed – but I’m also growing runner beans up the sweet pea poles so I don’t think this area can technically count as part of the cutting patch…
It might seem as though the plot is mainly flowers (and that is largely true), but I have allowed a vegetable or two to sneak in here and there . Aside from the runner beans and the squash and pea fence, we have a Black Futsu pumpkin and a yellow courgette.
And I’ve converted the old raised herb bed into a home for kale, cabbage and swede. There’s a sorry looking pea teepee that I’m sure will soon pick up.
There’s a rumour that I planted too many peas this year, but that’s just vicious gossip and I recommend that you don’t listen to it. Who has ever said, ‘gosh, we have so many peas I’m drowning in them’? Exactly, no one. There’s only ever too few, or just the right amount of peas. This is the Law of Peas.
Anyhow, that’s the plot. Back at the boat, the pointy-end (or bow if you’re all nautical and down with the pirates) is filling up with pots and planters. There’s carrots, turnips, onions, blueberries, mizuna, spinach, kale, lettuce, rocket… and a whole host of other flowers and trees.
My auricula habit became so bad that we made a plant theatre from old pallets to house them in the Boater’s Garden.
How are your gardens and allotments growing now that we’re past the Summer Solstice?
**Lyrics from Bon Jovi’s famous song about gardening in June.