Well, what weather! In spring the weather was unseasonably chilly, and cold winds lasted for more than a month. Crops were delayed and farmers worried. My beloved pumpkins struggled in the weather, as once I got them from the grow house into cloches the weather was unsuitable. I had to plant some more when the conditions improved.They are growing nicely now and some small, plump globes are appearing at their ends.But at a show meeting last night everyone was saying how the crops are late.
But suddenly the jet stream has changed and the British summer has become roasting hot. plants are springing up to catch up on late growth. This creates another problem, the need for constant watering. Do gardeners ever stop complaining about the weather? But I have little to complain about really. South Lancashire is not a bad area for growing. The soils are good, we don't floods or get too many bad frosts,but I grumble about the wind on my allotment, which is quite exposed. There are people who have more to complain about.
Let me remind you,For the Tatton Flower Show I am growing a three sisters bed, sweetcorn, pumpkins and beans, an old Amerindian/Native American technique. I have one metre by three metres, so there will not be a vast number of plants in it. I am placing the pumpkins in the middle and having beans and sweetcorn in pairs at the sides of them, to show companion planting. I reckon that I will mulch the uncovered soil with woodchip to prevent weed. My little bed is part of the larger entry from Trafford allotments. I am a small fish in a much larger bowl, and am I glad I am not doing the organisation!
Beans were different. I have seen few slugs this year, through snails are in evidence, and some cabbages have suffered. The snails have had their way with some beans, which were eaten. Fortunately, we could gather some spares. My sweetcorn is growing, but I have yet to see any cobs, but the plants are so healthy, they will come.
The big day is Friday, when the plant specialists come round to take the plants to the show. On Thursday night Geoff, Barbara, my fellow entrants from Chadwick Road allotments, and I will descend on my plot and get the plants out of the cloche. Some plants will have to be bagged, but I am hopefully doing that today. Gentleness is the word. Ease the sensitve plants out of their beds and into plastic bags. Nerves! I am a bit of a worrier, so I have visions of everything failing. I cannot help Geoff with his problem. He promised cauliflower, but his plants wilted when he was away. We don't know when the plant specialists will arrive, probably early Friday morning. I am hoping to be there. Geoff certainly will [he's retired.] What a great guy Geoff is, he's a really good friend, and Barbara is great as well. She is a nurse and is still working.
Monday to Wednesday are build up days when I am allocated to work. The show ground at Tatton is a construction site closed to the public and accessible only to those with passes. High visibility jackets and strong footgear are the rule. There is a tent for staff to eat and drink, and in this weather drinks are going to be essential. I will not be working for cash on these days, but I have just completed my exam marking period, which is late May to early July, and so have a bit spare in the bank. Anyway, as I do supply teaching to supplement my pension, this is the time of year when supply teaching is rare, so I won't be missing much work.