Sunday, 6 March 2011

Spring Cleaning

We ran out of apple juice on Thursday. I like a glass of apple juice with my breakfast and any other juice just isn't the same. After suffering orange juice for 2 mornings I decided on Saturday that I couldn't wait until my scheduled Tuesday visit to Lidl's and I needed to go straight away. My youngest agreed that a trip out was in order whilst my eldest was too engrossed in Saturday morning TV to be bothered. What I hadn't expected was the selection of gardening supplies that was on sale in Lidl's this weekend. Everything from apple trees (buy 2 for £10) to kneeling pads to coldframes.

So after picking up the apple (and other) juices, I added two large self-watering flower pots, a pair of secateurs, a large rose arch, a new pair of gardening gloves and 4 cloche tunnels to my trolley. I came home, in the spring sunshine, feeling ready to get out in the garden - or onto the allotment to be precise.

After lunch, all of us headed out to the allotment. The girls scootered round on their new scooters and were soon busy in their fantasy world. The allotment looks pretty good despite the lack of attention it has had recently. I did make quite an effort to clear it and deweed before the winter and now it is relatively easy to bring it back into usage. The raised beds with their wooden edging stand empty, like trampolines on an out of season beach.

My youngest's topic for this half term is "growing" and her teacher asked me before the holiday whether it would be OK for Year 2 to visit out allotment as part of this topic. I did point out that there isn't a lot growing at this time of year! Anyway, on Friday she asked if it would be OK for her to bring Year 2 to the allotment this coming Friday. As you can imagine, my youngest is very excited at the prospect of all her year group visiting our allotment. Having informed Steve of this immanent visit, he started our Saturday visit to the plot by passing a health and safety eye over it and removing anything hazardous. This largely involved moving trip hazards and eye-poking canes.

In the meantime, I dug out old carrots and a few weeds so that Steve would easily be able to dig over beds ready for planting. Then I unpacked one of the cloche tunnels I had bought from Lidl's that morning and soon discovered that each cloche is about 5m long and 1 meter wide. That is bigger than I had imagined but great for £4.99 each. So Steve and I discussed their possible uses for a few minutes and decided we would try them over broad beans and first early potatoes to get them off to a good start. So I packed it back into its box whilst Steve dug over the beds we had identified as the potato and broad bean beds. We are thinking that with a bit of organisation we should be able to get every child from Year 2 to plant either a potato or a broad bean when they visit.

We returned to the plot on Sunday to finish the preparations for the visit. Steve raked over the bed that will be the broad bean bed and then dug out 2 long trenches for the potatoes. He dropped compost into the base of each trench and marked out 18 points in each trench in which a potato can be placed by a Year 2 child. In the meantime, I pruned the raspberry canes with the help of my eldest who just loves using secateurs. Later, bored with the pruning, she decided to hook the blanket weed out of the water trough only to discover a bundle of frogs spawn in it. This is not a good place for frogs spawn so she fished it out in a flower pot and transferred it into our little pond. She told Granny all about it excitedly on the phone later so it must have been a highlight of her weekend.

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