Sunday 15 March 2009

Guess who's back?

Crop updates, wildlife, the weather and wise advice.

All enthusiastic after a whole afternoon at the allotment on a sunny day I come home and call my auntie. "You shouldn't have planted anything today, the moon is waning", says she, reading from the well-known Italian calendar of Frate Indovino (the "Guessing Monk").

Anyway, I will keep an eye on the seeds and see whether they are any slower to grow because of the waning moon... I think that is also what biodynamic gardeners believe, but what can I do? I have just so many weekends and it is already mid-March!

The seeds in question, which may be slow to grow, are in fact quite a few, as March is possibly the month with more seeds to plant and I am playing catch up already! Here is my list:
  • Sunflower Irish Eyes (which I plan to use as a screen at the bottom of the plot)
  • Spinach Palco, Organic
  • Spinach beet
  • Agretti
  • Chilli Pyramid, hot (the Hot Mexican I planted this time last month are not out, maybe the seed from last year has gone bad)
  • Calendula Candyman Yellow
  • Nasturtium Black Velvet (apparently you can eat the flowers in a salad!)
  • Onion Corrado
  • (some shallots from last year which had sprouted in my kitchen, no idea what will happen to them: will they make more shallots as if they were a set?)

But I digress... guess who's back? I arrived at the allotment this afternoon and was welcomed by my very own couple of resident mallards! They are back and I am very happy: I think they eat slugs although they may nibble on veg (no damage last year that I could see, though, but I have put netting around the spinach bed just in case). At all events, the mere presence of wildlife on my patch - with the notable exception of gastropods and pigeons - makes me feel good as if I had created a healthy place for them to be. BTW, they must be the same that came over last summer - I hope this year they will be wiser and won't make any eggs on the ground to be eaten by rats...

... talking of which I am preparing to attack: collecting smelly food to place a trap after they have been sitting on my seedtrays, eating snails (as much as I like the snail thus to disappear...).

Today I have also replaced the covering sheet underneath the strawberries, as last year's was all worn and just in case it hosted any pests or bacteria. However, this raised some etical issues, as that must be synthetic material and I threw away plenty of it. In any case, that material was on my allotment when I got it, so I did not buy it on purpose. In the future I should probably use straw instead to cover the ground and keep the strawberries clean from splashes, but where do you buy straw? I have to have a look around.

Celery has germinated and so has one sweet pea inside the greenhouse. They have joined the salad and rapa bianca's seedlings.

I was a bit sad that my new cloche was literallly blown to bits by the wind, that carried it across the plot despite my heavy anchoring. However, it was so hot today that it is difficult to believe the cold weather may be back again... On this wishful note I am going to sleep, as tomorrow's Monday again!

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