Sunday, 13 May 2012

Mr Rotavator has been busy.

Sunday 13th May 2012

A magical, still morning and Mr Whitethroat was singing out loud even before the sun was up.

Daisy ran out to see me when she heard me coming, so I indulged her by racing her up and down her enclosure a few times. She is getting back into good condition now that she is not feeding her litter.
I got straight on with the work and had already made good headway when Sue came out to inform me that one of the eggs that seemed lifeless was tapping and cheeping. A little late, considering its first brother or sister was born all of 3 days ago. We left it to make its own way into the world.

Then, on with the main act.

Remember this??

Two days of tugging at clumps of grass, wrestling with Mr Rotavator, picking through the soil for grass still stubbornly clinging on with its roots.
Then stooping over to pick off the last of the weeds.
Wait for the wind and the sun (mostly the wind) to drive off some of the moisture, then another going over with Mr Rotavator and more weed picking.

In short, a LOT of hard work, and you get this...

This soil, for some reason, is much clayier than the potager, so a fine tilth is not going to happen. Maybe in a few years when I've improved the structure of the soil by adding lots of organic matter. For the moment, though, small clods are the best I can do.
I marked it out according to a basic plan, improvising as I went along. By mid afternoon on Sunday, after over 25 hours of blood, sweat and toil, the patch was all worked over and marked out.

Time for sowing, just to make sure my back was well exercised!
I had an envelope of Garlic Marco saved from last year which had no home, and another of Golden Gourmet Shallots. Also over a hundred red onion sets. I poked them into the moist soil, just covering them as best I could with clumps of earth - no point trying to crumble it, it just compacts into a sticky ball. Then the remainder of this bed was devoted to maincrop carrots, Autumn King, and a row of mixed Solar Yellow and Cosmic Purple. All these mixed in with what I had left of a packet of mixed annual flowers to confuse those pesky carrot flies with their scent and beauty!

Then I made a start on the laborious task of sowing the seeds for the fodder crops. The large cluster-seeds of Mangel Wurzels along with the delicate seeds of Chicory. I pushed myself to keep going but eventually, two thirds of the way through, I had to succumb to my body's need for rest. The reason I had pushed myself so hard to get so much done was that the forecast for the next couple of days is...well, you guess.

I've already heard it called Monsoon May. A bit of an exaggeration, but more alliterative than the April Shower. 

Inside before dark, and this little beauty (on the right) was just about ready to go in with the others. So that's 9 out of 12. 75% success!

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