Of plants and ants
The open day has been and gone. I haven’t spoken to anyone about the day yet because I haven’t seen anyone on the allotment. The allotment itself was looking good for the day as I had hoed everything and weeded it all previously on Friday. Wallace and Gromit did their thing and kept people out of the greenhouse.
Even so it was nice to get back on the allotment after the fun and distraction of the weekend, even if we have had a lot of rain so far this week and expect more up tp Wednesday, so you are restricted to what you can do.
The harvesting is going well, with courgettes, peas, French beans and mange tout all coming off the allotment on a daily basis. More raspberries getting collected every day and the last of the strawberries being finished off too.
One thing I didn’t get a chance to do before the weekend that I have just done is to tidy up the greenhouse and the shed, just to make it a bit neater and gain room from getting rid of all the rubbish I leave lying around. It’s just putting things away and making it neat again really. I know have a large collection of tins at the allotment to keep things in and to keep things safe.
The potatoes are doing well. I’m getting well over a pound of first earlies per plant at the moment, and we are having potatoes most evening if we want them. I think there are 14 or 15 more first early plants left and then we are into the second earlies!
Quite a few of my sweetcorn plants have got tassels on. I know it will be weeks, or more likely months, before the sweetcorn starts to appear, but it is a heartening site.
I cleared out a section for the new broad beans and then planted the young broad bean plants in as well. They look good but I have covered them up just in case the pigeons like them as much as I do, and I’ll keep a special eye on them in the coming weeks.
The courgettes are going great guns at the moment, with lots being produced. It may only be two a day but you soon get very tired of courgettes for every meal. The pumpkins and the butternut squash are getting a lot bigger.
I read two interesting articles on the BBC website last week that have gardening connections, albeit tentative ones.
The first is about the spread of harlequin ladybirds and how they are devastating the indigenous species in any area they affect. Luckily they haven’t got this North far yet (or at least I haven’t spotted any). But it did also say that a parasitic fly is adapting to pray on the harlequin ladybird. So there is some good news. Oddly the harlequin ladybird outbreak seems to have lasted longer than the flatworm story of a few years ago, and nothing has been said of the onion fly that has been mentioned on Gardeners World.
The second story is that there is a colony of Argentinean ants that is so big it exists on 3 continents (the ants all originate from the same colony but now have disparate colonies in South America, Japan and around the Med). I just found that amazing that they have been spread so far and wide.
This made me want to go and watch my favourite film of all time, ‘Them!’. It’s an old black and white B-movie (about giant ants caused by nuclear radiation) and I believe one of the finest films of it’s kind. I defy anyone to not laugh like a drain at films like ‘Them!’, ‘Plan 9 from Outer Space’ or ‘Santa Claus versus the Martians’. Happy days.
It also reminded me of a quote from WC Fields, ‘If ants are so busy, how come they get to so many picnics?’
Whatever you are all doing this week, have fun out there.
- 9 Jul, 2009
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