Plotting, Digging and Planting

The Cats KnackersWhile money-earning work for TCK continues as usual, with the recent relative heatwave over the last few days, it would have been stupid to not get out on the TCK Allotment for some good old-fashioned Plotting, digging and planting whenever possible.

And this last weekend, apart from Saturday’s ‘Play Day’, we’ve been joined by the The Cats Knackersinestimably keen Lady A, who appears to be loving the ‘Allotment Life’ more and more with each passing day.

Of course, the true test of this is whether she enjoys being waist-deep in a leaf clamp in the middle of a wet and windy November afternoon. We shall see.

But in the meantime, she’s excellent company as we’re happily digging and planting and planning.

The other week, she planted two varieties of garlic up by the roses you can see in the picture above -just this side of the blue boards. And these are now coming up.

The Cats KnackersShe was tremendously happy when we pointed these out to her -how they’d sprouted, and said that these were the first things she had ever planted. This is really good, and we’re very happy they came up as planned.

In other news, she also planted two packets of ‘mixed kitchen herbs’ that Diane from LEAF had bought, and some of these are now starting to come through.

The Cats KnackersAll the pots with the white labels folded up to one side are ‘her’ pots, and as you can see, two of them have started to show. Quite what these are we have no idea as we didn’t check the labels, but we’ll find out next time we’re down -probably briefly tomorrow afternoon.

We’ve also planted quite a number of other things in the greenhouse over this last few days. These include two different varieties of cabbage, some Brussels sprouts, several pots of runner beans, two trays of leeks, more than 10 tomato seedlings, courtesy of Jon, some chilli plants from seeds we saved from some fresh ones that Lady A brought round to TCK Towers some weeks ago, and the catnip we mentioned the other day. Like some of Lady A’s herbs, some of the catnip is starting to show, so in a few months, The Chairman will have the opportunity to get as high as a kite. When he does, we’ll be sure to film it and put it up here. He’s crazy enough without catnip, so heavens only knows how he’ll react to a bag of freshly-cut leaves. We hope the police don’t have to be called again.

The Cats KnackersThe digging has been progressing well, too.

Buoyed by just how easy it is to dig underneath where the carpet was, yesterday evening after work, we popped down there alone and very quickly dug a fair amount of ground over.

As we’ve previously said, when carpet has been over ground for more than a year or so, the surface weeds will all die back, leaving only the ‘hardened criminals’ of the weed world -dandelions, bindweed and creeping thistle.

But, here’s the good part: They are really easy to spot, and for some reason, most of the bindweed and creeping thistle was actually on the surface as we peeled back the carpet.

Great, long, white streamers of bindweed and creeping thistle, while the dandelions had all but died, so were no match for the fork.The Cats Knackers

To the right here is just the bindweed and thistle from that recently-dug patch.

As a side-note, we’ve been trawling the Interwebs for possible uses for bindweed root, and so far haven’t found any. There are some nasty toxins in the roots, so these would have to be boiled out, leaving a stringy mess of foul-smelling nastiness.

Still, just leaving it out on a path to dry out and die is a rewarding feeling.

We’re thinking that the newly-dug area will be for some kind of root vegetables. Possibly beetroot or maybe turnips/swedes. We’ll have to see.

Back in the main greenhouse, and as we were alone yesterday, we could properly ‘play’ with the single-ring gas burner. Matt didn’t find any bottles in Sheffield Centre this last weekend for us, but had a spare one left over, so we used this to fire it up.

And in this case, ‘fire’ is an appropriate word.

This ring has always been a bit ‘twitchy’ in regards to lighting, but yesterday afternoon it took itself to new heights (depths?) in its contrariness. Yes, we could light it easily enough (…we’re sure the hair on our left arm will soon grow back…), but getting it to stay lit is another matter. It appears to be all down to the ‘load bottle’ lever which must be kept pressed for some seconds after the ring is lit. Whether this is some kind of fail-safe or something, we don’t know, but by the second cup of Earl Grey yesterday evening, we’d just about cracked it. Longer term, we must look into getting a ‘proper’ set up similar to the LEAF one which is run from ‘proper’ bottled gas and has two proper rings. Okay, more expensive than our little ‘tenner’ model, but ultimately worth it.

Tomorrow, we’re seeing Mr Ward Senior, helping him put the wheels back on his caravan then he’s taking us for a quick lunch. This will be great, but overshadowed by the spectre of his chemotherapy that starts on Thursday, which nobody is looking forward to. Hopefully, it won’t knock him back too much as he is due to drive down to Norfolk this weekend to see our sister. …And hopefully bring back most of our childhood ’00’ gauge train set, but that’s another story for another day.

Thursday, it’s back over to see our good friends at Bus Stop VW for another episode of ‘Get The 25 Year Old Arcade Machine Going’ which will be challenging and ‘fun’. (This is for all possible values of ‘fun’.)

Friday afternoon and Saturday, according to the BBC website, look set to be fine and dry, so we’ll be headed over to the Plot for more fun and games. More digging, planting with Lady A., and of course, more Earl Grey tea, with Classic FM as the sound track.

Roll on summer…

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