7 Jun 2010

The Bee's Knees

I have some new residents on my allotment...some bees have moved into my chamomile bed.  They must think my plot is the bee's knees! Well they won't have to travel far carrying pollen on their knees as they have moved right next to the borage bed! In fact two borage plants are growing in the chamomile bed (seeds blown from last year). Well, the bees are more than welcome. I doubt I will have problems with pollination this year!  I'll have to take care not to disturb them which isn't a problem. I don't dig the raised beds - I just add compost and green manure mulches. I'll take care not to cover the entrance to the hive.  I have two beds for borage this year, so they will be pleased when they flower.

The allotment has been a bit neglected this year. I have been so busy creating paintings and jewellery amongst other things that I haven't had the time to visit. I sowed some seeds the last time I was there (shamefully two weeks ago) but the weather has been so dry lately, and I haven't been able to find the time to visit to water them.  If I lived closer or had transport I would visit more often, but it takes me nearly an hour to get there and back.

Last year I started some plants off at home. I live in a flat and I don't have a garden or a yard.  I had to grow them in my bedroom as it is the only window that gets the sun (but only late afternoon). The plants would lean towards the window and grow leggy. Also I ended up with an infestation of flies ( probably from the compost). Not very nice in the bedroom! So this year I decided to sow direct instead. I wasn't expecting such dry weather though! This is very unusual for this corner of the world! It's better than the relentless rain of last year though. The perfect weather would be a good balance of sunshine and rain rather than long dry spells and long wet spells.

 This is a salad with rocket, dill, purple sage, green sage, oregano, golden oregano, thyme, chives, chive flowers and rocket flowers. Very tasty!

The herb spiral is doing really well. The lavender has grown so large that it has grown over the rosemary..poor rosemary! It is just about to flower. The green sage and chives are in flower. The lemon balm will need harvesting as it is very large. The echinacea that I sowed last year is doing well. I hope to see the flowers this year. The second bed of rocket is now ready, so I am no longer on rocket rations! It should be very fiery due to the lack of water - just how I like it!

I think I may have inherited an apple tree and a few very large blackcurrant bushes if my plot extends that far - I need to confirm this with the previous owner. When I visited at the weekend it looked more like a jungle than an allotment, so I am assuming that they probably are part of this plot, as they were very well kept last year.  I cut the grass around the tree and bushes. I cut the grass manually as I am not a fan of strimmers. I'm not very good with machines and I find strimmers are too noisy for my liking. Also the smell of petrol makes me nauseous. I think it's much nicer to listen to the birds singing than the angry sound of a strimmer. It's a good work out for the arms too - when I arrived on the plot I felt like Olive Oyl, but when I left I felt like Popeye!

I'm hoping to find more time to tend my plot. Now that we have a new government I wonder if I could persuade them to put more hours in a day and more days in a week! Wishful thinking!!!