Slow allotment gardening in the life of a busy family
Tuesday, 21 December 2010
Having finished up at work yesterday I had time for a quick dash to the allotment this afternoon, in between Christmas shopping and preparing for our annual Christmas pilgrimage to Speyside. For the past fortnight I've had a horrible cold-with-a-tinge-of-flu, and keeping plugging away at work has left me drained at weekends and only fit to take to bed so that I'm able to go to work on Monday. So no trips to the allotment at weekends, and on weekdays I leave home in the dark and get home in the dark. But with a fresh fall of snow and hard frost I wanted to see how the broccoli cage was faring.
It was mid afternoon by the time I set out, and I caught the brief glow of the solstice sunset. I was relieved to see that the cage was still standing, but it was suffering from the 'wrong' kind of snow, just as Britain's airports and railways have been suffering in the past weeks.
The snow had a woven effect, a bit like the cellular blankets which we keep in the loft for the very occasional warm summer night when duvets are too much.
All this softness was deceptive. As I knocked the snow off the netting, I dislodged one of the supporting poles, and saw that it was bent by the weight of the snow. At this point I was stuck: the ground was frozen hard, so that even if I managed to pull out the pegs holding the netting in place and get underneath to fix the pole, I wouldn't be able to push them back into the soil. So I jiggled and coaxed the pole back in to the balls at either end, and left it all balancing precariously. I fully expect to come back after New Year and find the whole lot on the ground, with pigeons sitting on top gorging on my baby kale.
The kink in the pole in the photo below shows the effect of all those feather-light snowflakes.