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Insert CORNy title here

Another terrible pun title today. I feel like I should apologise for it but I find puns mildly amusing in an “oh now that’s bad” way, so I won’t.

Anyway – the corn I planted seems to be doing well so far… not that there’s much to see.

Of the 55 Strawberry Popcorn and 44 Seville sweetcorn I sowed, 48 popcorn and 7 sweetcorn were up as of this morning.

As the Strawberry Popcorn have been popping up (pun not intended, this time) for about a week with no sign of the Seville sweetcorn I was starting to think I’d done something wrong and was going to get nothing, but I saw the first shoots of green in the Seville pots today. Worry over.

This has only opened up a whole new worry though (no surprise there). What on earth am I going to do with anything up to 99 pots of corn before it’s warm enough to evict them from the house!? They are all in 3″ pots at the moment, but I don’t think for a moment that they’ll be able to stay in them for long.

5″ pots would take up 18 and a bit square feet (1.7 square metres) and if they needed to go up a size again to 7″ pots, that’s 35 square feet (3.25 square metres)!!!

I think I’m going to need a bigger house.

The pun that wouldn’t die.

I’m making this post while lying flat on my back on the new allotment. It’s bright, warm, noisy with birds and a bumblebee is currently buzzing around by my head. A perfect spring day… though I’d honestly have preferred some cooler weather for the work I’ve been doing!

I decided that last year’s free rhubarb really wasn’t best placed and so this week I’ve been moving it. Some has stayed on the original plot, the rest is moving home to the new plot.

For some inexplicable reason I had it in mind that planting it would be a quick job… how wrong can a person be!?
I’ve got no idea how long I’ve been here today… maybe 4 hours… but I’ve double dug the bed, filled the top and bottom layers each with a couple of barrow-loads of horse muck, back filled and planted the rhubarb in its place. One is rather short on root and as such I don’t really expect it to survive, but I’ll give it a chance.

I’m about to bring a load of water up to the plot (no water butts set up yet) to give them a good drink to get started with and then I’m almost done for the day.

The rhubarb looks quite sorry for itself in the photo as it was dug out yesterday and has had to wait until now to go back in. I’m expecting it to wilt really badly and then pick up again in a few days… if it picks up.

Rhu[free]barb in its new home

The rhubarb looks quite sorry for itself in the photo as it was dug out yesterday and has had to wait until now to go back in. I'm expecting it to wilt really badly and then pick up again in a few days... if it picks up.

Your attention, please!

I have an announcement to make.

It’s been a long time coming, but I’ve decided it’s about time I got on with writing about things and finally come clean with the “big announcement” I promised… last year.

It appears that Sam and I have taken on a second allotment.
I know! I was surprised too; but that’s exactly what happened.

There I was, minding my own business, when a relative told me about a place where I could get free, well-rotted horse manure. At the time it just so happened that I needed some manure for my potatoes (yes, this news has been that long coming) so off I popped to the stables.

“Hello,” said I, to the first person I saw – and who happened to be the stables owner “I believe you’ve got a load of manure.”
“How many tons* do you want?” she asked.
Unsure if she was kidding I replied “About an allotment’s worth.”

Then it all started moving a bit quickly.

“Would you like an allotment?” she said.

Oh dear.

Skipping over some of the less significant conversation that followed, mainly dealing with the muck heap of gargantuan proportions, the conversation turned to the piece of land they were turning over to use as allotments. All grass, lots of weeds and never been dug (or at least, not any time recently)… but allotments none the less.

I think this was about the point where I said I’d take one.

No payment needed for a while so I talked it over with Sam – who asked some rather pointed questions about whether I thought we could handle the extra work, if I was rushing into it too soon after taking on our first plot and so on. I convinced her (or rather, convinced myself) that all was well and that it was a good idea and so, when the time came a few months later, we paid our money and the plot was ours.

I think now it’s probably safe to admit that I thought it was a bit more work than I could handle… sorry Sam. Honestly I don’t think I had her fooled for a moment – but she’s quite tolerant of the numerous schemes I come up with (and usually underestimate) so I don’t think I really needed to convince her. That didn’t stop me trying though.

Still, last years growing and harvesting came and went… winter set in along with the lack of motivation I had (and wrote about)… and then came spring. The ground softened somewhat and we got to work.

Progress is slow – the soil is very hard – but we are getting there.

It’s a lovely site too.

There are weeds, but I’ll let the photo of the site as it was in August of last year tell you all you need to know about that:

Brand new and never been dug (as far as I can tell). Covered in grass and wild flowers/plants ("weeds" now it's an allotment) and lots of them. Then there's the tree saplings, blackberries (which will not be staying put... though I may move them if I feel like using up some space) and assorted roots which put up a real fight when you try to get them out.

Over the next couple of days I’ll write a little about the progress made on there so far… and the promised news of a “new adventure” will be included in that.

* tons for you non-metric types… but then, she could have been using imperial, in which case I should have said “tons” earlier… unless you’re reading this as a speaker of American English, in which case it’s ton or ton either way.
Clear as mud!

Now you don’t.

image

Now you see it…

image

Rumour has it that I didn’t read the instructions before sowing the celery last week.

The rumour is that I sowed them like any other seed and in doing so denied them the light that they need to germinate. The rumour goes on to say that I will be sowing a new lot of seeds but leaving them on the surface where they belong.

I hereby publicly deny the rumour. I would never do something so silly when sowing a new seed for the first time.

Of course… the rumour is COMPLETELY true.

I’m just denying it.

…and though the lawn is more moss than grass, the grass that remains has “ris”.
There’s no wondering about the birdie… he’s in full song… and any time now I expect to hear next door’s hens talking “chicken talk”. Feel free to comment if you see the reference there.

I’ve been out in the garden for the past hour emptying last year’s compost from the pots that never made it to the plot for one reason or another, getting the smaller of the blow-away greenhouses ready for use and having a general tidy up.

I just popped into the office for a moment and saw this…

Seedlings from the first sowing of actual spring.

Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage and a lone Onion... the fun really starts now.

…not much to look at, I’ll grant you, but it’s the first sign of seedlings from the spring sown seeds (as opposed to those sown in the grip of winter like chilis and the cabbage I got started a few weeks ago.

Some people I know will be delighted to see the start of so many sprouts, some will be positively sickened… but that’s how it tends to go with sprouts. A load of cabbage and a single Long Red Florence onion have poked up too.

No sign yet of parsnips or celery though.

…and now I’m off out to play in the sun and get my hands dirty again.