I've been meaning to get down to the plopment for the last few days but always managed to talk myself out of it, knowwhaddimean? Anyway, decided I wanted to have red cabbage and apple as a side dish for Sunday lunch which meant that, quite reasonably, I had to go the allotment to pick some! Plus (rather excitingly - and alarmingly - but excitingly) snow is predicted across the UK within the next few days so if I wanted to start clearing some of the plot before spring, I pretty much had to go NOW.
So now that our Saturday and Sunday mornings are no longer in thrall to the tyranny of the weekend papers, I decided to head off down the road - and I'm jolly glad I did. Even as I write this, as the afternoon is sliding into early evening, it's still beautiful out there - blue skies with that hazy pink at the horizon.
I decided that it was time the leggy carrots and parsnips gave up their comfy beds as the space is going to be needed for something else, so out they came.
Honest to God - will you just LOOK at these freaks of nature? Far too many legs and carrot fly tunnels. The parsnips have a woody core as well. Oh well, I decided the parsnips can go into the dalek bin to make next year's compost but the carrots can be washed and then be fed to some grateful horses that I know.
I now know why they grew so many limbs. Turns out it's not such a good idea to grow them each in an individual pot then transplant the seedlings into their final place when they're big enough. For some reason they just don't like it and start sprouting new arms and legs like crazy. What I should have done was just plant the seeds where they were going to grow and then thin them out accordingly. This I will do in the coming growing season and see if it works. If it doesn't then I'm not going to bother again, especially as carrots are so cheap in the shops. I realise, for an allotmenteer, that this is almost heresy but I'm nothing if not realistic. Of course, having said all this, the taste of homegrown carrots is really quite astonishing so it is worth pursuing. Parsnips, though, hmmm. Not sure. We don't eat anything like as many of them as we do carrots, but perhaps I'll give them one more go...
One thing I did finally manage to get round to recently was drawing the plan for next season - I can't seem to insert a word document here so, sorry, no picture of it. But there's rotation!! And I'm putting this year's brassicas where last year's sweetcorn was so well-rotted horse manure was applied. This is the first time I've added the manure that I collected last spring and summer from the stables where I ride, and what lovely stuff it's turned into. I hope it does the trick.
While I was forking about in the poo corral I heard a rustling in the bushes at the other side of the site from me. I stopped to see what it was and saw the most beautiful fox having a sit down and a yawn in the sun. It was about 30-40 feet away from me and didn't seem all that bothered! It moved into some thicker undergrowth to one side and curled up for a sleep. I continued with what I was doing, then decided I would do my best to take a photo. I got as close as I could but didn't want to startle it. My new camera has a really good zoom but I don't have a tripod so please forgive me the dodgy focusing but at least I got a reasonable picture of it's ear and half-opened eyes! You can click on all the pictures to make them bigger.
I only hope that the new Chicken Palace, which is coming along well and now has proper netting (if that's the right word) to keep the predators like lovely Mr/Ms Fox out. I don't know when the little dinosaurs are arriving as I'm not taking part in the project, but I'm looking forward to their arrival all the same.
As these cold winter evenings give such beautiful night skies, I thought I'd finish with a picture that I took last night. I think that's a planet hanging underneath the moon, but can't be sure. Perhaps it's Venus which is usually the brightest planet in the night sky... anyway, enjoy.