Monday, March 31, 2014

ladybird explosion

 I escaped to the plot yesterday for a glorious hour, in between interminable assignments, work, college, birthday celebrations, okonomiyaki-eating, oh and sleeping. (For those who don't know, okonomiyaki are a sort of Japanese savoury pancake - a friend made them with cabbage and seafood, smothered in mayo, special sauce and seaweed - they are really tasty.  Seek them out!)  The plot has declared full-on Spring - all the bushes have buds, the  over-wintered chard and garlic have doubled in size in a week, and the insects have emerged from hibernation.  In the hour I was there I encountered numerous creatures both good and bad - earwigs and woodlice, a queen wasp, a green caterpillar and a brown one, some little golden flies (possibly carrot root fly), bluebottles  - and lots of rosy ladybirds.  There were three or four on each of the strawberry plants and they seem really active, trundling about at a great pace.

I have been out to the allotment once each week for the past while, just to keep things ticking over until I have time to properly take it in hand.  The spuds are in; due to time constraints both earlies and maincrop on the same day, the broadbeans are well up and I even have peas and beans and dahlias and sundry other seeds started in the polytunnel.  I have some beds weeded, with green manure dug in and blood and bone added - others are still at the wilderness stage and will have to stay like that until I can give them some attention.

Another job I did last week was to sow 120 odd onion sets (variety: "Snowball").  I have had issues with sets bolting in previous years, but as my onions started from seed in January are very much on the paltry side I thought I'd give them a go.  I obeyed the spacing on my sowing ruler and put them in at 3" apart, but it does look quite close to me.  We shall see.  The sets are really white; hence the rather ghostly aspect to the photos.  These show the sets spaced out - afterwards I pushed them in just below the surface, and a passing shower helpfully watered them in for me.

On yesterday's visit I cleverly caught my finger in the gate and spent 10 minutes searching for the plasters in the maelstrom that is the shed.  Then I drilled holes in the compost tumbler for drainage, and assembled one of the new shelving units for the polytunnel (the old ones have rusted into oblivion, so these new ones are plastic).  I looked at everything, dug out a pot for a new rosemary plant at home, pulled up some escaped watercress, watered all the pots....and then it was already time to go.  Time moves at twice the normal rate at the plot.  Two more weeks of college to go before Easter, and then I will have time to breathe again.


  1. Looking good all round. We have lots of Ladybirds here too, nice to see. Also an abundance of tadpoles in the drainage ditches.

  2. Hi Rooko, I'd probably have frogspawn and tadpoles too, if I didn't have fish in the pond, but they eat everything. There were ladybirds everywhere at the plot today; there seem to be hundreds of them! It must be the mild winter.