The Piper’s Little-finger…

IMAG4723
Peas, Beans, Berry Bushes & Bottle cloches

Chomh gnótach le luidín an phíobaire!

We’ve been busy; busy as the early spring bee, busy as the nest building starlings and mating hares and busy as a vixen in and out of her earth trying to meet the appetite of her growing pups.
Last week saw us pass the 100th day mark on our new plot, and though the weather has been challenging to say the least, we are finally settled into our new location.
We’ve managed to get some onion and shallot sets into the ground, and we’ve also planted out the Bedfordshire Champions and Ailsa Craig seedlings we had sown in trays in mid February. We sowed some ‘Jumbo’ peas and ‘Sutton’ dwarf broad beans together with some Bunyards Exhibitors we had started off in modules. The gooseberry and blackcurrant bushes we moved during late winter have leafed-up again and the bees (thankfully) have been visiting blooms on both, so, fingers crossed for a berry crop later on, however small.
This week we set two ridges of strawberry plants, one of Elsanta and the other a variety called Symphony, and we also planted some Choco-late mint and some Country Cream oregano.
The Tayberries are flowering reasonably well and the two dwarf apple trees we had to bring with us have also leafed and set bloom; not much bloom mind you but it’s a start and an indicator that they’ve taken well despite the move and relocation.
Our rose bushes are putting out this year’s shoots and some of the thyme and rosemary that have struggled with both the move and poor weather are showing signs of clean green at last.
Our new potting shed arrived, and the table top is currently jam-packed with cosmos and sunflower seedlings awaiting a milder spell for transplantation. Our 3 raised beds are constructed and we shall fill them with soil and compost over the next two weekends.
We have chard and beetroot, courgette and red kale seed to sow this weekend and we will have to re-do our basil, the first sowing having failed miserably, no doubt due to the prolonged cool dull conditions.
All in all we are quite happy with the first100 days on our new location; we’re putting our own unique stamp on the monster’s new plot, and our new plotted neighbours are beginning to discern some semblance of our working schema.
Yes we’ve been busy, busy as the many weathers of March and the blossoms of April, and no doubt we’ll continue to be busy, Chomh gnótach le luidín an phíobaire (as busy as a piper’s little finger)?: no, Ní mheasaim é.

April, come she will…

Early spring at the monster’s NEW corner

April, come she will, and the overgrown plot of land we signed for at the end of December 2016 is beginning to resemble an allotment at last.
There is still much to do on the monster’s New corner, but, at least we have some onion and shallot sets growing away in terra firma. We have also moved the onion seedlings out of our daughter’s polytunnel and set these in the ground and our cosmos are germinated and putting on an inch or so. The dwarf sunflowers have germinated, and all the fruit bushes we moved from our former plot in January have burst bud and the bees are pollinating the early flowers on the Hinnomaki gooseberry bushes; the summer John and April Queen heritage apple trees are about to bloom, and all six of Mrs. Dirt Diggers rose bushes are topping away with this year’s growth, and to cap it all off we have actually harvested some rhubarb form our new plot. We know it’s a little early as, ideally we should have left it a bit longer before picking some stalks as these stools were only transplanted in early January, but, we just had to, and what a sweet treat…the first produce from the monster’s NEW corner.
We’ve set the structures of our raised beds, marked out our pathways and mulched the whole fruiting area with woodland chippings; and last week saw us take delivery of a new shed: a new bolt-hole for the monster.
With peas, broad-beans and some new strawberry plants being set this weekend we’ll be busy as this year’s sowing season gets under way in earnest, and we are glad to say that we are just about on cue.
Although a little cool and grey for much of the last 5 days at least the weather forecast is for somewhat brighter and milder weather than of late, and remembering that tomorrow is Greenfingers Day, sure what more could any gardener or allotmenteer hope for eh!
Buy some seed…… and sow up a pot or a drill on your plot…

time to really get the hands dirty…Greenfingers Day 2017….

The Potting Shed
The Monster’s new bolt-hole… Our New Potting Shed and Raised beds
The 1st produce from the
Monster’s New Corner…April 5th

 

greenfingers day2
Greenfingers Day 2017

Greenfingers Day 2017….

Waxwings and Workhorses…

Over the last four weeks me and Mrs Dirt-digger have been busy transporting and transplanting our fruit bushes, brambles, rhubarb and apple trees from a plot in the garden where we formerly worked an allotment to our new plot in a new location. We began the migration on 15th December and glad to say we shall complete the process of moving this coming weekend when we finally relocate our strawberry plants and a well established sedum which we will also take. The relatively mild weather for late December and early January has helped no end, affording the opportunity to get ahead of the posse, so much so that we actually turned some of the terra firma on the new plot which is still a  little heavy but trafficable nonetheless, and at least we have some basic cultivation with which to plan.
Here at Monster in The Corner our belief has always been that a garden’s summer glory is set in winter’s planning, and Boy oh Boy! will this hold true this year, but then we never shirk a challenge.
Now that the all important time-critical work of relocating the dormant bushes is complete we have set our mind to mapping out some other design aspects at our new plot; pathways, shed location, polytunnel situation whilst not forgetting compost bin and leaf-mould location. We are also assessing ground cultivation versus raised beds possibilities, and have opted for a 50-50 approach.
Some of the neighbouring plot holders at our new site have offered us compost and manure and even seedlings in a couple of weeks time, and where wildlife at our former location consisted largely of flocks of pigeon and magpie (not forgetting one of the highest population densities of grey squirrels in the whole country) at our new site we have thus far observed hares and pheasants and even exotic looking waxwings in the last 2 weeks.
The Dirt-digging Mrs. has purchased Bedfordshire Champion onion seed, Tuscan black and Scottish Green kale seed, tender and true parsnip seed and cornflower seed; and we also bought some onion sets (Stuttgarters) and Jumbo peas; and our short term plan includes shallots, main-crop potatoes and broad beans which we shall start off in pots in the next fortnight along with the Bedfordshire Champion seed.
All in all things are moving apace, and though we were a little deflated (to say the least) last autumn when reconciling the reality of our experience at our former location, what a difference a month can make.
There are not too many photo opportunities on a midwinter’s allotment plot, and all the more so when it’s an overgrown unused plot, but we are making headway, and though at present we have little to show of the planned schema at this stage we will simply post this photo of the other two workhorses on monsterinthecorner, i.e. The Barrow Bug and The Dotty Dolly…

imag4454.jpg
The Barrow Bug & Dotty Dolly Taking time out at their new home!!!!

By This Time Next Year

We have much to do that needs doing on our new plot, and much to say regarding the decision to leave behind all the effort of the last seven years at our former plot; but, we’ll concentrate solely on the doing.
We’ll take a leaf from Davina McCall’s New Year’s approach to life’s challenges, and simply say that by This Time Next Year the Monster shall be a transformed creature.
At present we feel somewhat akin to Eliot’s journeying Maji, having decided on quite the worst time of year for such an undertaking, but, just as with those ancient sages the prize shall be worth it, and also by way of acknowledging the day that is of course…
At the moment, and while winter dormancy allows, we are busy transferring all our fruit trees and bushes from one allotment to our new plot located 5 miles away. The weather has remained favourable enough for the time of year, but the car will need a professional valet after the move is completed.
Currently we have one foot stuck in the old with the other foot finding its way in the new, and while not in any way drawing comparison with Shakespeare’s descriptive prowess of the mighty Julius, it strikes me –Cassius-like that is- that we …perhaps…

bestride this narrow world, Colossus like,
and beneath us crawl some petty lot,
peeping out from that shadow cast
to dig graves on their dishonourable plot…        

                                           Yes. That’ll do Pig.

with apologies for liberties taken

With courtesy nods of course to TS Eliot, William Shakespeare and Dick King-Smith

The Monster's New herb bed
The Monster’s New herb bed