Super Soggy Blues

ImageArgh! Will it ever stop raining? Doesn’t the weather realise that I’ve got seeds to drill, manure to move and soil to rotovate? There’s really only so much a girl can do indoors in spring: I’m pretty up to date with paper work (tax return filed: tick); I’ve sown as much as I can fit in the module tunnel (tick); and I’ve weeded the polytunnels as best I can (tick); now I really have to get outside and do stuff. I just can’t get on the soil to do it…

Fingers crossed that there may be a few hours next week when it’s not actually tipping down, and I can drill some Oriental leaves, rocket and radish, plus some coriander and parsley (it will probably be a bit muddy and cloggy, but I’m getting desperate). I’m just hoping that it won’t be too late for the salad and that it doesn’t bolt/get too munched by the hole-piercing flea beetle before I’ve had a chance to pick it.

I’m so short of room in the module tunnel at the moment, I’ve tried suspending a very homemade wire-and-plank contraption in one of the tunnels, to fit a few trays of pumpkin and squash in. The idea is too foil the pesky mice: if they manage to get them up there, they pretty much deserve the seeds. I’m just hoping that these gales don’t blow the whole thing down, as it’s not amazing stable. I’m also half expecting to catch some mice climbing up with full abseiling gear when I next poke my head in the tunnel, but maybe I’m getting a bit paranoid…

Compost Trial Update: 3-1 to Carbon Gold

Quick update on the compost trials: the red cabbage seeds have now germinated (you have to love how quickly brassicas germinate, it’s awesome – particularly when tunnel space is so tight and things need to keep moving). So far the Carbon Gold has stolen a march on West Riding – the seeds were all sown on 12/4/12, and yesterday (23/4/12) the results were as follows: 55/150 modules had germinated in the West Riding; and 112/150 had germinated in the Carbon Gold. I’m expecting both of these totals to go up of course, to nearly 100% germination in both, but it’s interesting to see the Carbon Gold tray be a bit quicker. Especially as the previous brassica tried last month – calabrese – seemed to prefer the West Riding (the WR plants are even now bigger and there’s more of them compared to CG).

Perhaps the weather has an important effect, even though they are inside: the calabrese was germinating during the March heatwave, and WR does seem to keep hold of more water (it’s reclaimed peat), whereas the
CG (coir/biochar) seems to have better drainage. It’ll be interesting to see how later lettuces do when the
weather warms up again (if it ever does). I sowed a tray of green salad bowl lettuces in each compost on 19/4/12, so there might be some peeping though in the next week…

Robin Me Blind

Note to self: in order to take pics of wildlife, get better camera…

My polytunnel nearest the hedge (I whimsically dubbed this “five-penny tunnel” after burying a 5p piece in the concrete with one of the foundation poles) still has some chard, chervil, a little landcress and bulls’ blood beetroot going strong; but the drilled spinach and carrots have been very disappointing – hardly any germination, and what there was has been munched drastically, most likely by blasted slugs. I’ve now reduced the watering since the cooler weather (the weeds have loved the water though, drat it); and have a table over a bare patch as I’ve run out of room in the module tunnel for my potted-on tomatoes. The toms will be planted out in here in a few weeks anyway, so they may as well get used to their new home.

I have noticed over the last few weeks though that whenever I go in this tunnel, there is always a robin hoping around in here. Which is quite a feat really, as all the doors are usually shut – they sneak in through the gaps between the top and bottom doors. I say they, as I though it was just one, but then two turned up yesterday. They’re really cute, cheaping away as they hope around, and I was just harbouring dreams of how they will clean this tunnel up of all the small sluglets; when my cherished hopes were rudely dashed as they were in fact snaffling all the worms. Every few seconds they were plucking one from the barer patches of damp soil. Rude. Don’t they understand that I WANT the worms? Whereas they can have as many slugs, snails and woodlice as they like? Sigh. Maybe someone could bring a book out on how fattening worms are, and how slugs are a great diet aid?