Slow painting

Sunday, 17 February 2013

A hazy shade of winter

A number of song and book titles/lines sprang to mind for this post, among them 'All the leaves are brown', and '50 shades of grey brown'.  The problem with the second was that I anticipated a spike in spam traffic directing me to sites I really wasn't interested in.  In the end Simon and Garfunkel won over The Mammas and The Pappas, perhaps inspired by Dancing Beastie's 'The dangling conversation' post. 

So here's a stocktake of  a predominantly brown allotment, with a few tinges of green.

First, the bed that was reclaimed from under years of corrugated iron.  Mostly fallen leaves, but with worrying signs of creeping buttercup infestation.  Beside it is the previous plot-holder's weed dump, now mostly earth but given to springing to life with a lively array of weeds.  The year before last it was couch grass; this past season, out of nowhere, it was a fine crop of foxgloves.  We left these as bee-attractants, but it will need to be cleared soon and the earth sieved over existing beds.

Interestingly almost weed-free is the bed that had an application of home-produced compost in the autumn.  Spot the rogue garlic shoot.  The light grey substance is the indestructible remains of teabags.  We go through a whopping amount of teabags in our family.  The mesh bags which tear if you so much as look at them in the wrong way when making a cup of tea seem as if they'll have a half life of several hundred thousand years once composted. 

Well, this is pretty dull, isn't it?  You know you're a nerdy allotment person when you can write about a bit of bare earth with some grassy tufts here and there.  This is where our failed potato crop 'grew' last summer.  I have a suspicion that there are still some potatoes down there somewhere, and that this bed will benefit from a serious digging over in the spring.

Strawberry plants looking rather sorry for themselves, and with the ever-present couch grass making a come-back. 

This weed-stopper cover has been on since early autumn.  Who knows what's underneath?

Miniature leeks, anyone?  Probably put in too late, these have failed to thrive over the winter.  They may have a 'late surge', to quote Bill Nighy in 'Love Actually'.

Here's a surprise - something growing!  Purple sprouting broccoli and kale are holding out well under the anti-pigeon netting.  No sign of anything purple sprouting yet, and our life has not been in the mood for kale, but we may yet get something edible.

Not so with my eagerly anticipated calabrese, now blasted by frost.  A reminder that we are in Scotland, and that a covering of fleece might have been wise.