Saturday, 9 June 2012

Squash Tyres

Saturday 9th June 2012
At the moment a pattern seems to be emerging. Grey starts to the day seem to lead on to the better days weatherwise. And so it was today. A day to be busy in the garden.
I had a big job to do. The squash tyres.

Luxury High-Rise Squash Accommodation

Some of my cucurbits (squashes, pumpkins, courgettes and cucumbers) have gone in with the sweetcorn and beans as part of my Three Sisters experiment. The rest though, have their own special area, each with it's own home fully equipped with everything it could possibly need. Firstly, a tyre to keep it warm and to raise it above the ground. Then, a layer of turfs, back to back, to rot down and give goodness. The next layer of the cake, well rotted horse manure for strong growth. On top a covering of topsoil, just to stop the diet being too rich. Atop all this, each young plant, lovingly reared in the greenhouse, would get its own protective cloche made from a milk carton.

When I showed Sue how to do this, she put the milk carton upside-down...and it made a lot of sense. Easier to secure, a smaller rim to push into the soil and a larger rim to catch the rain and allow for expansion. The final luxury, a layer of slug repellent granules.
Now, this didn't all build itself. In fact it took the best part of the day. Just one last thing to prepare before my cherished plants came to their new home. A slug bashing session.

This year has been quite the opposite of last for slugs. So it didn't take me long to dispatch well over a hundred slugs. Just one of these, nibbling through the stem of a young plant, could wreck all the effort put into rearing it. I know I've talked about working with nature, but I'm afraid that doesn't include slugs. Well, not until I've managed to attract more hedgehogs, frogs and toads into the garden.

Luxury high-rise apartments for the cucurbits

A big scare
Mid afternoon our cat, Geronimo (Gerry for short) came miaowing up to me in the garden. When we moved in we acquired three delightful kittens, mainly to help with the rodent situation. They were supposed to be feral, but we are cat people, so these were always going to be loved and mollycoddled. We were devastated last spring to lose two of them on the road within a short space of time. Olly and Charlie are still much missed and lovingly remembered.
Now, Gerry disappears for long spells into the fields or hunting in the dykes, and occasionally he just decides not to respond to us, especially if he is hunting. So it is always a relief when he puts in an appearance. So I put him in the house at 3 o'clock and got on with my work in the knowledge that he was safe.

At quarter to ten, just as I was contemplating stopping for bad light, Sue came down to where I was working and said that Gerry was nowhere to be seen in the house and that he hadn't come to see her since she got home late afternoon. Convinced that I had put him in, and that the door had not come open again, I searched the house, but no sign. The first place we look, with dread, when Gerry does not come, is on the road. Then along the dyke, in case he has ended up in there. But that's when it's light enough to see. By now it was gloom, heading for pitch black.

Well, to cut a long story short, we searched more and more desperately with no luck. He had always come in before dark, but it was now approaching midnight. I still could not understand how he had got out, so searched the house for the third time...and there, under the bed, tucked away behind an old quilt, sat a very devected looking cat.
What a huge relief! But something was clearly up. He really was not himself, listless, no purr and no response to us. We put him on the bed and went to sleep. It wouldn't be long till the morning and we could see how he was there. At least I wouldn't be out searching for him at first light.

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