Spin, Spin Salad

IMG_20141110_132532 IMG_20141112_110825No chance of losing this bright little gem in a snowstorm eh? This is my new commercial-sized salad spinner, and it wasn’t cheap – but there is something very pleasing about the action of the well-engineered cogs as they spin effortlessly round and round, giving my salads a nice refreshing rinse. I can probably fit around six bags-worth of leaves in it at once. I invested in the spinner because the last of the salad leaves outside (a mix of rocket, mustards, mizuna, mibuna and lettuce) are so sandy and silty following the heavy rains splashing the soil up and over them; plus of course the damp weather has meant that the slugs are again out to play, following their summer dry-bernation. While there’s no way that I’m going to be able to remove every single baby slug in the spinner if it’s determined to hang on to a leaf, at least it will get rid of the worst of them. I still put ‘wash before use’ on the salad labels, in case an enterprising pest make an attempt to go under the wire and hide in the bag. Short of covering the leaves with poisons out in the field (not good for other wildlife, and surely not good for us to eat), there’s not a huge amount more I can do – I piled up last year’s brassica stems in the top corner in spring, hoping this would make a good toad and hedgehog hotel. I also need to work out a way to sweet-talk the local birds into being more vigilant. They do seem to be doing their bit now; there are always robins and finches fluttering away when I go to the field; and café chef and keen ornithologist Matt tells me he watched a stone chat have a great time eating things off my cavolo nero the other day.

Talking of wildlife, I noticed yesterday and this morning that something (field voles most likely) has been digging up my leaf radish seeds sown in the module tunnel. This hasn’t happened for a couple of years; last winter they didn’t bother at all. I’m wondering whether this means a) the mousetraps I had all round the tunnel two years ago worked, and all surviving rodents passed on terrible stories to their offspring not to go Up On The Tables – which has now worn off as their descendents go exploring and disobey their great-grandparents; or b) somehow they know we’re in for a hard winter again. I suppose only time will tell; meanwhile I’ve dug out the mousetraps again and placed them around the leaf radish, but hope the voles just give up and stop causing a nuisance, so I don’t have to deal with snapped bodies on Monday. Please, guys, listen to Great Uncle Squeak and keep away…

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