Ooh its gone cold today. There was a biting wind up at the allotment this morning, I didn't stay long as its far too wet. I shouldn't complain though there has been alot of pictures of flooded allotments around. I've never known it as bad as this, even my bark chipping paths are getting churned up now. So not much point in doing anything. Not that there is much to do, but the raspberry canes need chopping down and I want to remove a blackberry plant at the bottom of the plot. I bought it very cheap, from a pound shop I think, which wasn't a great idea. It was supposed to be a Tayberry but its definitely a blackberry! It crops OK but I've got another on the other side of it which is a thornless blackberry and this has much bigger fruit on it. Plus its a spiky thug so its time to go. On a visit to my local garden centre earlier on in the week, they had a sale on all plants and I decided to get a Loganberry, so I picked a good sturdy plant, took it to the till and they charged me £2.99, what a bargain, should have been £10. So very happy with that. Just got a bit of work to do now planting it.
The kale that is not covered is being eaten slowly by the pigeons so I need to get them up. But I picked lots off the ones undercover and will freeze a couple of batches. I usually drop the leaves into boiling water then take them out almost straight away into cold water, dry them off slightly and then scrunch them up into balls and pop in the freezer. Then you can just get them out of the freezer and pop straight in soup or casserole. I also harvested a few more chard, celeriac and some leeks. Big soup making time for me I love that at this time of year. The kale grown undercover still does have some whitefly on it too so the enviromesh hasn't prevented that, but its not as bad as the ones not covered.
You have to have faith at this time of year, the plot can look very bleak, but actually its quite green for me this year, which might be a bit of a worry. The chives have been starting to sprout, the globe artichokes are sending up lots of their lovely silver grey foliage.
This clump is getting a bit big and probably could really do with splitting but might be tricky now with so much growth. So I might leave that till next year now, though I could probably could do with removing the old stems.
The rhubarb is also getting a bit ahead of itself.
I noticed I have a few bulbs coming up as well, some Camassias and Alliums, cold is forecast for the next few days and into next week though and there may be some snow on its way. Eek. But looking at the long term forecast (if it can be believed) it looks like there may be some dry, cold weather on from Wednesday onwards. We need a respite from this incessant rain.
I've been back at work this week and made a sad discovery. I work in Manchester and get the train in, I have a short walk at the other end which I really like, some fresh air before I have to sit at a desk all day. As you can imagine I go the same route most days and you get to know the surroundings its part of your scenery. There is a lovely big Horse Chestnut tree on my route and I track the seasons by this tree, watch the buds break into those impressive candle like flowers, the big leaves unfurl, followed by conkers which I love to see just as they come out of their spiky shell all shiny and brown. Then the leaf colour change in the autumn and then leaf fall and then it all starts again with the big sticky buds. This looked a great specimen too, they have such a distinctive shape these trees. Its a marker for me on my journey to work. I was walking through part of the old UMIST area, which is now part of the University of Manchester, on my first day back and shocked to see it cut down to its trunk. What a sad sight.
I can only think it was diseased and the rip in its bark from the other side also suggests that but Oh, it didn't make it a good start to my week. There are so few trees in a city anyway, sad to see another one go. Horse Chestnuts are known to suffer quite a few diseases and from a quick bit of research its likely that it had canker, from the bark tear. Shockingly half of Horse Chestnuts in the UK are showing signs of this disease according to the Forestry Commision.
So lesson from this, cherish your trees.
Anyway keep warm over the upcoming cold spell, make like a cat. Bob is an expert at getting cosy.