Spring Has Sprung in Blackpool
Posted by Martin Mc Carthy, 12th May 2009
Well it feels like spring has sprung for sure in Blackpool. It may be selective memory but the weather has been pretty good to us for the last few weeks. Sure, we've had wet days but they've not had too much impact on progress. We've learned that temperature seems to be more important than sunshine at this early stage of the growth cycle.
If you've been watching the show or seen the site on your way through Blackpool you might be aware that our plot is a few degrees off the horizontal. Added to that, the soil was rocky and pretty hungry. It made for some fairly laborious days of carting topsoil and manure in 'barrow but we're all hoping it will make the tomatoes taste even sweeter in the end. Hunger is the best sauce my mother used to say, to get out of making sauce probably, but toil and sweat are pretty good appetizers too I reckon. Growing your own veg has many benefits and exercise is one of the best. It was one of the reasons I wanted a plot, to get exercise while being productive, rather than running around in circles somewhere. Growing your own veg benefits series: #001 - Exercise
We've been pure blessed with a greenhouse next to our plot. The council kindly allowed us to use a part of it and therefore give our seedlings the best start possible and it was ideal while we sorted out the ground work. By the time the beds were ready and the soil was warm enough, the seedlings were strong and are now beginning the transfer from the greenhouse to open soil via Andy's cold frame. The pace plants grow at in the greenhouse is amazing. I believe the greenhouse got it's name from the 'greenhouse effect' which is popular these days.
The hens seem very happy but we all feel they could do with some more space. The 'omlet' coop which came with them is fine but it seems a bit cramped for 4. They don't have room to flap their wings or run. Imagine not being able to stretch out your legs for days- that could be how they feel. I reckon a 'chicken run' is called a chicken run for a reason and there ain't much room for runnin' in the omlet cage. We give them more space when we are there but something more secure is needed. So a more expansive residence is on the cards. We're just sorting out the best way to go about it at zero cost. Allotmentalists should always look to get materials for free, second hand or from a skip i.e. free-cycle. I've tried to practice it wherever I can in my own gaff. We'll let you know how it goes.
Frank from www.irishseedsavers.ie has been great. He's brought some heritage seeds and even small trees and is a mine of information. Some of the back stories to the various eh, varieties, are fascinating. He's been involved in community schemes in the past and digs the vibe at the plot. Everyone does what they can, when they can and all effort is appreciated. That seems to be the way to go with a communal plot. So far so good. The weather during the month of May was very good for the past few years, before the rainy season of June and July, so if the weather is good this May then get out and enjoy your garden or local green space. It May not last.