Monday, 23 January 2012

New boots and frames

After a wet and especially windy weekend a bright, calm morning tempted us up to plot 18. A quick look around the hedge an the edge of the field beyond showed lots of small scrapings by an animal to get at the roots near the surface. It's probably the local rabbits, but might just be a badger. There is a clump of woodland at the edge of the field so there could be a set there, maybe I'll take a look. I could also put out a tray with sand in it to try to get footprints to examine.

I've made a couple more frames. this time they are quite short at only a metre long. They will be the ends of a rectangle made of frames that I will use to surround a carrot bed. I used longer frames for the sides last year and had to improvise the ends. The main job of the frames will be to support fleece to keep the carrot fly at bay. Last year's carrots were very good, so protecting this year's crop is certainly worth it. The frames are simple wooden sides made from pressure-treated timber used as roofing laths. The corners are reinforced with plywood triangles. They have plastic screwed to the ends to allow them to be pushed into the ground, but the plastic won't rot like wood. the whole frame is covered with a mesh, plastic in this case but others have chicken wire mesh, whatever is available. The frames make the plot much more flexible as I can use them where I like and move them each year. I use frames in parallel pairs with netting strung over the top and ends to keep birds off brassicas and legumes.  I may make more end frames if they work well.

Jean bought some more boots. Her old ones had been around so long that the sole came away with the weight of mud clinging to it. Good boots are important to an allotment holder, indeed good outdoor clothes in general. If you get wet and cold then any job seems too unpleasant and gets left undone.

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