And so begins the frantic week prior to my annual holiday. Why frantic? Well just because there is so much to do – planting, sowing, weeding, tomato and cucumber training and pruning, ensuring that the automatic irrigation for the polytunnel is working reliably, watering, grass cutting, and dozens of other jobs that I haven’t even thought of yet. A week away doesn’t sound like a period of time that I should be fretting about, but at this time of the growing season it’s amazing how quickly everything can get out of hand, so I must tick as many of these jobs off the list as I possibly can.

Because of my upcoming absence I have pared back the contents of the shop, just so that I am not left with perishable stock that will end up on the compost heap if I don’t sell it. That means that what I am buying in this week will be reduced in terms of quantity, so if there is anything in the shop that you particularly can’t live without I suggest that you order early to avoid disappointment. Quite a lot of what is available is now my own produce – broad beans, beetroot, lettuce, cabbage, kohl rabi, parsley, which is satisfying.

So Thursday/Friday deliveries will be as usual, but I will not be at Wyken for the next 2 Saturdays, so there will be no order collections from there until 2nd July. Crikey, that seems like a long way off!

The weather looks set fair for the week ahead so there will be no excuses for me not to make good progress in the garden. I will start today by preparing the leek bed, and tomorrow I have 700 young plants to put in it (my knees and back are screaming at the thought of it). Then there are the last 2 rows of tomatoes to plant in the tunnel, and I must finish stringing up those that are already there – annoyingly I ran out of string last week so couldn’t complete the job. I have got hundreds of brassica plants to get in the ground too – Romanesco cauliflowers, cabbages and kale. Another sowing of dwarf French beans is required; I think that they are the only beans I will have this year because every climbing bean has been eaten by the rabbits. I can at least cover the French beans with netting until they have established themselves, but I must remove it once they begin flowering to ensure good pollination. I did finally get all of the winter squash planted out last week, and so far they are all still there….I hope that I’ve not tempted fate with that comment.

Snow in June? No it’s ‘fluff’ from the Poplar tree. It’s a grand tree, but at this time of the year boy does it create a mess. The ‘fluff’ is seed that looks like cotton, it blows everywhere and lays thick on the ground. It’s very efficient at spreading its seed, but I don’t see many Poplar seedlings shooting up so quite how effective it is at reproducing I don’t know.

I can report that I am at least one rabbit down in the garden. Early last week I noticed a crow busily pecking at something over near the far hedge, but thought little of it. However, when it was still there a considerable time later I thought that I should see what it was so engrossed in. It was tucking in to the carcass of a bunny that had been predated, probably by a stoat. And so goes nature’s cycle.

I received some distressing news early last week. A social media post by the landlady of the pub in Birdbrook, The Plough, announced that it was closing with immediate effect! Now I wasn’t the greatest patron, but I did call in on my way home every Friday evening for an hour to catch up with the regular Friday evening gang. It was nice just to chat and have a laugh in familiar friendly surroundings with a cross section of the local community. I fear that The Plough will never reopen, going the way of so many rural hostelries. I know there are other pubs, though the choice locally is limited, and the alternative will not suit all of the Friday evening stalwarts, but it feels like the end of an era and the loss of yet another village hub….I do hope that I’m wrong.

So this time next week I will be enjoying everything that the Roseland Peninsula has to offer – beautiful scenery, delightful walks along the coast path and river creeks, crystal clear blue (but icy cold) sea, pasties, cream teas, the odd pint, and peace and tranquility, a time to relax and recharge. I’m not going to fret over the price of fuel for the journey, or how outrageously expensive the cost of renting property is down there now, I will just enjoy being in a place that I love. I first went there in the year of the Queen’s silver jubilee, and 45 years on I am still captivated by the place.

Right that’s it from me, I’ve got jobs to do. Everything will be back to normal two weeks from now.

Phil

 

 

 

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