noun : the action of protecting, or the state of being protected, A person or thing that protects someone or something also see defence, security, armour
noun: character with superhuman abilities, or magical powers, wearing a distinctive costume and fighting against evil, a person who is unusually brave
champion, hero, protector
I've been meaning to write this down since May and suddenly its mid August and it's still not down, along with the next blog to follow about home brewing - so while the rest of the family lay star shaped attempting to sleep in this heat I'm finally putting pen to paper- well typing on a sweaty laptop!
So as a new allotment owner I'm still learning the ropes as to what 'pests' become regular visitors, whether it be small ones with wings, feathered friends with sharp beaks or four legged creatures that bumble around snapping plant stems and leaving droppings after they've dug holes and disturbed all of the newly planted seeds! The Cosmos was the first to get nibbled. So when a well known budget supermarket had their 'garden week' special buy offers on, it meant a roll of chicken wire, cable ties and some new seed trays all for under £10 were slung into my trolley! (pre lockdown I may add- I told you ive been meaning to write for a while)
After a morning of DIY spouting occasional swear words, the seedlings were safe from the clutches of the ever so cute bunnies that chew chew chew and then leave the evidence just next to the bare stem. After one chicken wire surround I'm going to see what else gets nibbled . I always wanted the plot to be open and luscious without fences or barriers but I am also aware that it doesn't need to be aesthetically pleasing and that sometimes being practical is the way forward. Towards the beginning of summer I then found tufts of what I think is badger fur laying about - Eliza was excited that so many of her friends congregate at the plot, I though was not so impressed.
In late May we had an addition to the family and as plot protection goes it just might do the job, Meet Nellie! As guard dogs go she's pretty useless as she slobbers on everyone she meets, will lay down and enjoy a tummy rub for any kind of treat, and dig holes in your lawn or flower bed just for fun! In regards to pests I'm not sure if she scares them off or encourages them in but with long legs that would put any Olympic athlete to shame I'm sure in time she will settle into her new role.
We must forget that each dog needs their trusty owner / assistant and when I snapped this picture of Eliza helping weed at the plot in one of my old dressing up costumes I couldn't help design and then start making her an outfit of her own.
Other pests noted include caterpillars - with superpowers themselves! They can become camouflaged against any plant and then slowly but surely chomp and destroy your lonely zinnia seedling that you've lovingly tended to for since sowing it in March . These guys have magical powers, they can make a whole plant disappear within days and they even have the costumes to match. Vibrant stripes, fluffy tufts and 6 legs then transforming onto a moth or butterfly with patterned wings. . . makes my puppy's ability to lick an enemy not so intimidating.
Going forward I have every faith that my team of mini heroes and plot protection will not disappoint.
Other early summer news on the plot. . .
Alliums lasted and then started to dry out into beautiful elegant seed heads! I had 3 giants that really were the size of my head if not bigger!
Roses started to bloom and provide an early evening scent on days I'd need to water.
I potted on my Dahlia tubers at home ready to be transferred at the plot. I decided on a square bed and planted 20 plants in rows of 4x5. It doesn't seem like a big enough space but for production - reading up on having them close should work.
'Singing the blues ' sweet pea variety was a winner - amazing perfume and totally gorgeous to look at! With the long lockdown days, I found peace in the evening watching the sunset framed by these beauty's.
Loganberries, Mangetout and Rhubarb harvested and enjoyed at home! VE day gin and tonic with allotment Rhubarb syrup was a hit in our household.
planting out of the annuals , Amaranth 'Hot Biscuit' , Scabious, and Sunflower seedlings.
Ammi Majus growing nicely and protected next to the cosmos in the new cage.
2 rows of Foxgloves added in bridal white and peach ( I think they will bloom next year)