As I detailed in the last post, the wind this time of year is decidedly fierce. Having moaned about the impact on my sleep I thought it was only fair to highlight a virtue. Strong wind = higher tides. Higher tides = more seaweed on the shoreline. And seaweed is commonly renowned as an excellent fertiliser!
Last year I made the mistake of using carrier bags to transport seaweed and regretted this bitterly as I drove the half mile or so to my allotment with my nose sticking out the window, gagging every few minutes. Not this year however! I grabbed a pair of gloves, scarf, bobble hat and bin liner and set to on the shoreline. I picked as much as I could carry and then hauled it back to the car. But then my eyes saw something very pleasing indeed and I had to investigate further.
Along the shoreline there are some gypsy horses which graze all year round. Normally I skirt round them as they are shy and very protective of their young. However they were grazing about 300 metres downwind of me and so I seized my chance to pick up their brown presents and add that to my stash. Seaweed and manure all in one place, how fantastic!!
I drove to the plot, Windows down and bag stashed (and sealed) firmly in the boot. I have a water butt which is the stinky butt (Pun fully intended). I fished out the dregs of last year’s seaweed, flung that on an empty bed and into the water the new mixture went. What a pong. I have a triple layer of lids on that butt because by the time things start heating up the smell is vile. However it makes glorious tea for the plants and the sludge at the bottom is great for the compost.
Buoyed up with this success I decided to sort out my strawberries, changing gloves first of course due to the smell lingering a bit too much for my liking. I went to Lidl and bought half a dozen self watering planters which I thought would be perfect for the strawbs. Last year my plot neighbour gave me loads of runners and I put them into some pallet ends. I then forgot to water them and in a week they were dead. The very same neighbours donated more to me but suggested I pay closer attention this time. I concur! I had no strawberries last year so this year I am hoping for a decent crop. The self watering planters should hopefully neutralise any neglect on my part.
Following a tea break I decided to plant my new roses. When I first got my plot there was a stump sticking out of the ground with several thorny suckers about head height. My initial thought was to kill it but my mum advised me to hold off and see what came up. I was rather surprised but also pleased to find it was a rose bush that has clusters of small pink flowers all summer long. I have pruned it into shape for this year and hopefully it’ll reward me with more flowers. After enjoying these roses so much I couldn’t help but be tempted by the Wilko roses on sale this week. I bought 2 scented roses, 1 light pink (parfume de romeo and juliet) and 1 red (parfume de moulin rouge). I have put them into 2 pots for now along with blood and bone, hopefully this will give them some fuel to put roots down and grow strong this year and next year I should have some nice cut flowers for my vases!
Back at home I have been clearing out the plastic greenhouses ready for the onslaught of seedlings. I did an overwintering experiment with some aubergines. Out of 2 only 1 survived, the other will go to the compost heap.
In with the Aubs I had some citrus plants which were free from Grow your own magazine. My lemon tree has always looked a bit sickly so I half expected this to die over winter but it seems to have survived. My orange tree looks the best out of the bunch but it had a covering of sooty mould on it. I grabbed some soap and a flannel, cleaned it all off and I noticed this weekend it has rewarded me by sending out little flowers. My lime tree has tiny fruits in it and seems quite happy. I kept them outside in the greenhouse all winter. There’s no frost on my balcony so I think they didn’t mind it. I’m pleased with these plants so far.
My first sowing of leeks has now been moved outside along with my first tray of sweet peas and garden peas. The Marigolds will follow shortly as will the foxgloves. This should free up window space for more seeds. Hooray!