Thursday, 4 February 2010

Winter update

Hi all

OddMod signing in.

Many apologies for the chronic lack of update on the Hackney Greens' allotment. But what with canvassing, leafletting, dancing, drinking, Copenhagen, Christmas... well, you know how it is.

We're pretty much waiting right now for Guru Ed to give us the nod to begin work again.

Now, this update is likely to be faily light on deep Green and permaculture philosophy, I'm afraid. I'll leave that for the Guru and Greenfinger. This isn't my area of expertise. I am merely but a foot soldier in all of this, albeit one who finds digging and planting stuff theraputic and fun.

But anyway, here's where we are right now...

The first plants went in before the Autumn was out. On the left handbed, after sterling de-nettling work from my goodself, we planted a dozen or so fruit bushes, all of a different variety. Or, rather, bare stems that the Guru assures us will grow into fruit bushes.

On the third middle bed we planted some thyme, garlic and rosemary herb roots.

Ladies and gentlemen, Mr's Hanley and Hulm - "the Morecombe and Wise of Hackney Green Party" (c. Cllr Mischa Borris).


The main bed

When we first arrived, not only were we confronted with 6ft high nettles but also a floor thick with weeds. Dave the Scouser had often complained that he had twice attempted to tackle these, but they just came back the next year with greater ferocity. Dave had his doubts about whether our merry gang had the wherewithal to halt the ferocious campaign of the nettles, moving Trffids-like towards his back door.

However, this was before they met us.

Now, it's well worth us taking a minute here to make a before/after comparison:

We went from this, day 1 in mid August...

to this... mid November.

Here is Jon Shorts (left), Clissold candidate Peter Jones (centre), Guru Ed (right with green shirt) and our very own Caledonian lion Raymond.

We went through the main bed about 4 times with shovels and pitchforks, eeking out every last damn root and weed to make sure the little buggers didn't return come next spring. Fingers crossed.

After Ed was satisfied with the weed excavation, we turned the soil over once more and then dug in several sacks of donkey cack, fresh from our local, friendly Shoreditch farm. I'm sure I don't need to explain what the manure is for. But here's some 'fun with poo' pictures for your amusement.

The top bed

Now, this is the action bit of the allotment. We planted some green things and red onions down there. Apologies for the"things", but I never really did find out what they were. Cabbages, I think.

For these Ed constructed a wee protective coat out of a bit of old fencing and some twigs.

Plant-wise, that was as far as we managed before putting the allotment to bed for the winter. We collected hordes of old cardboard and lay it all down over the beds, and then covered that with old carpet and rugs. Apparently, it's to a)keep the frost out, b)let the manure do it's thing, c) allow the cardboard to eventually breakdown and disappear into the soil from whence it came.
Will endeavor to update this blog a bit more efficiently this year.

In the meantime, here's some more pictures to goggle at:

Here's me and new HGP recruit Mr. Ash, pointing at a wall.

The ever-busy Miss Hughes, planting her fruit bushes. I'm considerably looking forward to making one of my famous crumbles from the fruit off these bushes. Eventually. Could it ever match my awesome Dave's Pear and Blackberry crumble, though?

Speaking of the lovely Miss Hughes, here's a sort of romantic montage of the happy couple, digging for all they're worth. Well done, Greenfinger.

Haven't a clue what this is, although the picture is labelled 'Canker', so I'll go with that.

And finally, a trenchant buffoon in ill-matching clothes, looking particularly pleased with himself after finding this old cabinet on the road and recycling it as our new tool cupboard, striking a rather camp pose and grinning like a loon. Nice.

Over and out. OddMod.