Bit of a catch-up today – mainly down to a combination of babysitting our grandchildren and doing some serious damage to my knees on Sunday, wheelbarrowing loads of earth around the allotments and not knowing when to stop. How are you supposed to know when to stop if nothing hurts? – I pointed this out to Madame who was unsympathetic and thought I was just being my usual driven self. Of course I was driven, I’d just built four aircraft hangars and I needed to reassure myself that they were nothing more terrifying than generously proportioned compost bins – which is what they turned out to be after a pretty wet morning wielding the manure fork.
So we were up there at the crack of lunchtime, just as the sky turned a rather nasty blue-black as in fountain pen ink. The task, having cleared the decks on Sunday, was to divide the contents of the California cylinder into its three components. The problem with the cylinder design has always been that it’s very difficult to turn without dismantling it entirely. What we were hoping to find was an upper layer (the wormery) with all the recently added kitchen waste, with a middle layer of partially composted material and a lower layer of ready-to-use compost.
And – as is the way with allotments – the moment we’d uncovered everything (including ourselves) the first wave of three very sharp storms crossed over us forcing us to take refuge in the tiny greenhouse, standing room only! Eventually, after two further intermissions while rain stopped play, we managed to shift everything into its new home. I have never in my life seen so many worms. There were thousands of brandling in the upper layer, demonstrating the reason that the heap was consuming all our kitchen waste with such ease. Two bins away, the leaves from the autumn were getting used to their new surroundings having been moved from their temporary home in a builder’s 1 tonne bag.
The bottom layer was the best compost we’ve ever made and after a fat mouse had been evicted accidentally we simply spread it in a thick layer over the bed in which the potatoes will be planted next month. Everything was tidied away and that meant every single bed has been prepared for the spring onslaught. We’ve never been in such a good position at this time of year before – it’s all down to two of us both being retired and able to give the allotmement the time it needs.
Back at the flat, the daffodils were flowering in the window boxes and I can claim 100% germination for the Habanero chillies. The others, with the exception of the Bhut Jolokia are germinating slowly. Even better the orchids which Madame re-potted last year and which have been sulking ever since, have now – at last – started to flower again.
And finally our middle son announced over the weekend that he’s applied for an alloment as well. I can’t believe how happy that made us feel.