We managed to spend about four hours up at the allotment on Saturday in the sun which was lovely. Most of that time was spent weeding and tidying which meant a lot of the more jobby jobs didn't really get done. Despite that it was time well spent as the plot needed a bit of love after all the fruit cage related excitement of the last couple of weeks.
We did get a couple of things done worth reporting however. This year’s squash plants made it into their final homes. Most went into half of the spring brassica bed now that it'd mostly clear and the last couple went in with the sweetcorn in a kind of experimental Two Sisters approach (there's a traditional companion planting system called Three Sisters that involves planting squash, beans and sweetcorn together). Hopefully the sprawling nature of the squash plants will help keep the weeds down around the base of the sweetcorn.
We also made an attempt to save this year’s gooseberry harvest. When we took over the plot there were a couple of small gooseberry bushes along one of the sides. They didn't fruit the first year but since then they've grown huge despite our neglect. The problem is, since they started producing, we've lost each harvest to the birds who seem amazingly adept at stripping the bushes the nano-second the fruit turns ripe.
So, this year, now the fruit is starting to turn red (they seem to both be red gooseberries which is a nice change) we thought we'd take some of the netting we'd removed from the old fruit tunnel and try and cover the bushes up as best we can in the hope it'll deter the birds. It looks a bit makeshift, and we left the branches that were growing our the other side of the fence or the birds to have, but it should do the job. We hope.
Saturday afternoon we happened to be driving past the Gloucester branch of Focus which was holding a closing down sale so we popped in. It felt a little vulture like to be picking over the bones of a business gone into administration like this but we did find a couple of things to bring home with us. Most interesting was this nice big heated propagator.
I've wanted one of these for the last couple of years to enable me to start off chillies and peppers etc mega early so it’s nice to have one at last and it'll mean the seed sowing bug can take hold even earlier next year.
We also found a sorry looking whitecurrant bush that looked like it hadn't been watered for a week and was on its last legs. Taking pity on it we bought it and took it straight up to the allotment and planted it out in the fruit cage. Popping up there tonight on the way home it seems to be settling in well and looks a million times healthier already.
I'm not really sure what you do with whitecurrants but it’s nice to save something that was pretty much destined for the rubbish heap.