Saturday, 21 June 2008

Fancy pants

In many of my pictures of the allotment the keen eyed among you may have spotted the occasional flash of blue dotted throughout all the greens and browns.

La. This plot belongs to Vic.
I recently discovered that no food is blue. This is why kitchen staff wear blue sticking plasters for treating cuts. This is a troubling thought. I wonder how many band aids made it into our collective mushroom soups before someone worked this out. Blue plasters fall off into our food just as easily as flesh coloured ones, they are just easier to spot. Let us not dwell on this.

The blue flashes are improvised water butts. We have a rather neat arrangement with a local factory. They give the allotment association their spent 40 gallon barrels (which previously contained water-based glue) and save themselves a bundle on waste management fees. We save a bundle on 40 gallon water butts. Happy people everywhere.

To convert the barrels you take a hand saw and cut off the tops and let them fill with rain water for summer crop watering. Some people cut them in half and grow spuds in them.

Of course you can be fancy and with a little application you can have a counter top for growing crops. We've got four of these.

I take credit only for the idea. It will surprise none of you to know that the natty framework was built by Harry and painted by Coryn. After experimenting with an "X" frame which proved a little unsteady Harry decided that, whilst certainly elegant, the "X" frame needed too much safety engineering. These things are surprisingly heavy when full of wet dirt. The cradle design is far more suitable.

This year we have grown carrots and spring onions with surprising success. Once the carrots come out we will being planting salad crops in all the buckets.
From my point of view I am very happy to toil in the soil for broad beans and potatoes and the like, but I draw the line at scrabbling around in the dirt for the cousin of a dandelion no matter how tasty. So our salad crops will be easy to pick and comparatively clean. As organic as I am everything still needs a really good wash.
Here's one I made earlier. Left to right Rocket-Lettuce-Spinach. Bagged and washed and bought in a supermarket a bag of this stuff is about £1.50. There's enough for about 10 bags there and it grows back every week. Sorry Tesco, I now eschew your "lazy-boy" bags of salad leaves.

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