Friday, 4 January 2008

The Basket Case.

Thank goodness things are back to normal---a wonderful Friday spent shovelling horse manure at the allotment. To be honest, I wasn't sure this week that I didn't have the dreaded virus that is going round: I had 'the runs' and I certainly felt sick. But then, as we all know, I am a hypochondriac, so we can't be sure. Anyway, I felt a lot better after getting started on the hotbeds. I made a small one on my own using an old laundry basket (hush, we may be at the cutting edge of organic gardening here, I'll let you know of its progress.) I got started on another in an ex-compost bin, and the third, real Victorian one, was marked out with plastic posts by our leader...I'm sure you're all at the edge of your seats by now wondering how to make a Victorian Hotbed, so here goes. You basically dig a hole between two and four feet deep. You then at least half fill this hole with horse manure which you then walk on to squash down. You then put the soil back, but adding compost as you go so you end up with a 1:1 mixture. You cover the whole thing over with something transparent like glass or polythene. As you can tell from the above, I'm trying to do some small ones without the digging to see if they work. The point of it all is that you end up with a really hot, well fertilised, patch where you can grow things at least a month early. Next week some of the blokes will hopefully turn up and do a bit of digging...As for the rest of the plot...well, the broad beans are doing fine, but the onions I planted seem to have caught damping off or something (I think they knew they weren't loved, don't you?). Oh yes, in case you're wondering. The reason I had an old laundry basket was because I bought a new one in the new John Lewis's in Cambridge---reduced from £30 to £10! What a day that was. I celebrated by having a salmon and scrambled egg breakfast in their restaurant, with waitress service...Even we greens have our moments.

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