Slow allotment gardening in the life of a busy family
Sunday, 9 August 2009
For the first time I was organised enough to sow a green manure. Organisation didn't extend to some crops that I meant to sow, but life's been busy. The shot above is of the two rows of field beans that have been the most vigorous crop on the plot this summer. Taken on 2 August, compare it with the shot below, taken on 19 July.
The bean flowers have been hugely attractive to bees and flying insects in general.
The thing now of course is that I need to cut them down before the flowers set seed, and we're about to go away shortly for a few days. There may be some vigorous hoeing in store for me next year, but at least I've done something to start enriching the soil. We seem to have been making compost forever, and have only used half a bin full so far. But because this summer has been so wet the soil has remained rich, warm and soft, like coffee grounds rather than dried out to a lumpy hardness.
With several rows of new potatoes now lifted, I decided to sow another green manure, this time crimson clover. I've been looking for manures that will please the bees as well as doing my soil good. Here's the area I sowed with clover on 3 August, broadcasting it in what I fondly imagined was a competent medieval peasant style. We'll see what happens!
At the left of the shot you can just catch a glimpse of the utter failure of the green pea crop. I think I sowed too late, or kept the young plants hanging on in their cardboard tubes too long, or... it was just one of these things. Pity, because I was looking forward to fresh green peas. I would never buy them fresh in pods from a supermarket, because they're less fresh than the frozen variety, for an exorbitant price. But green peas eaten straight from the plant are better than any sweets.