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The cage fighting gardener.


The weather today has been glorious. Sunshine has been flooding down upon the plot, ripening the fruit and making it a perfect day for the judging.

Today I decided that I would do more work on the strawberry ‘squirrel’ cage. I had already gone out and bought bigger nails. Mrs MK would say that there are 3 male replies to the line ‘If at first you don’t succeed…’ and they are either ‘hit it harder’, ‘use a bigger hammer’ or ‘swear at it’. Personally I would say you need a combination of all three, but that’s just my generous nature. So armed with my hammer, some 3 inch nails and a decent working knowledge of rudimentary swear words I headed off to the allotment.

Luckily for me one of the plots adjacent to mine has an old concrete base that was used for a greenhouse but is now vacant and nice and clear, so I took the tops of the frame off and took them to the concrete. I mist admit it’s a lot easier nailing on concrete, so much so that I don’t think I swore once!

I completed the tops of the frame by making some cross pieces to give each of them a bit more rigidity and used bigger nails in the corners to hold it together better, so now at least they are in one piece and not so flimsy. I attached the join of the chicken wire to the cross pieces and everything is a lot more effective.

I know it still needs a little bit more work to make it a bit more friendly. I need to put some hinges on to allow the frames to open easily and also I need to make sure that the chicken wire stays down when curled over at the edges (it is notoriously tangley stuff and gets itself knotted together very, very easily). So I have to put either netting staples in all around the top of the frame to keep it down or trim and tuck it somehow. Anyway that’s a job for Thursday or Friday. By the time I had finished my third evening on the strawberry bed then I was ready to stop and go home.

I planted some of the new carrot seed ‘Resistafly’ which describes itself as “tolerant to cabbage root fly and unattractive to their maggots”, and being the optimistic sort I have sown them in the space I removed the infected carrots from. Is that too optimistic ? Just in case it is I have put some in another part of the plot as well – I’ll try the companion planting between the rows of onions and see what happens. Hopefully this deferred planting and the presence of onions should help a lot. If this doesn’t work then I may well resort to high rise carrots! But that will be an engineering project for 2010.

The plot is not looking too weedy so I haven’t bothered to hoe or weed it, I’ll leave that for Friday as well.

So apart from the next stage in the strawberry bed I have been picking veg. There are lots of mange tout and broad beans for the eating. New potatoes to dig up and lots of fruit to pick as well.

Everything else on the allotment is coming along nicely.

On Thursday night I was determined to finish off the strawberry cage (finally). It was a relatively simple job of just putting hinges on and more netting staples in to hold the wire a bit better. That really didn’t take too long, and it’s very pleasant working in the late afternoon sunshine. It’s finished now and hopefully will keep my strawberries a bit safer. It now looks like this …

… and thank heavens for a nearby hedge.

I think this has definitely resumed normal service, I picked another 1lb of strawberries from the plot, and ¾lb of black currants too. Whilst in the strawberries I tidied up the runners, cut a lot off and put a dozen or so into pots, so that they are available for next year. The last job was to change the beer in the beer traps. The beer tends to go mouldy after 3 days but because the weather is so dry the slugs and snails aren’t doing anything, so in a way it’s wasted (cheap) beer but probably worth it just ib case we have enough rain to revive the slugs. And anyway, it’s 91p for 4 cans, so it doesn’t really break the bank.

No veg was needed tonight as it was lamb curry.

The last job was to cut the grass and the edges, and then all was finished. Off I toddled home to prepare and freeze fruit, as right now I’ve had so many strawberries I think I am turning into one.

More later…

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Well done Muddy! It seems as though you've cracked it at last, and can enjoy ALL your strawberries.
By the way. If at first you don't're like most other people. But you stuck at it. Very satisfying result.

26 Jun, 2009


Well done on solving the problem of the squirels and being able to enjoy your lovely strawberries Yum! you must be so proud!

26 Jun, 2009

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