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Sunday, 5 April 2015

Leaving England

Last Saturday in March I did some last minute sowing and, with Oscar, took a look around Plot 14 before packing our cases for Ano Korakiana.
Winnie asked me to give her notes...
WEEDS: Keep the plot free of weeds – especially couch grass (do not put couch grass or any other perennial weeds in any of the compost bays) Keep everything tidy like you do already. The annual weeds will spring up everywhere but can be dealt with by regular hoeing back into the ground, unless they’re seeding (in which case pull and add them to compost bay 2). Don’t worry about dock. The long roots turn the soil. Cut them off at soil level and put leaves in compost bay. 
COMPOST: Now and then fork and turn the waste I’ve started in bay 1 (it won’t be ready until at least winter). Cover it with polythene or carpet to keep warmth up but ensure it still gets air. If there’s a long dry spell – wet it with the watering can to stop it drying out. If it rots/ferments well and is well on its way to turning into humus (like the ‘black gold in the builder’s bags) turn it into bay 3. If things work out the compost will become humus, ending up the colour and consistency of a good Christmas cake!
Meantime put new green waste (other than perennial weeds. i.e. couch grass) in bay 2. Cover that in the same way to keep warmth up.  After moving the contents of bay 1 into bay 3, switch to putting new waste into bay 1, turning that into bay 2 when its well on its way, leaving bay 1 clear for the next lot of new waste. I'm figuring how to use Garotta or a cheaper equivalent to keep the process moving.
Re the commercial compost in the builder’s bags. If you do any digging over on the plot, add some of that – enough to darken the ground to hold more warmth from the sun and prevent cracking of the soil if it stays dry a few days - and a few handfuls of the bone meal and blood fertilizer from the big plastic buckets with the red lids. Just a sprinkle to flavour the ground.
POTATOES: Earth up potatoes as the green tops rise SLUGS AND SNAILS: Salt slugs. You’re better at this already. If frogs appear that’s great. They like slugs. RUNNER BEANS: If the runner beans I sowed on Saturday sprout as I hope you may need to give the seedlings a help to get started up the bamboo frame. ONIONS: If any onions are growing too close, thin them out and replant with more space or harvest them for yourself as spring onions. BROAD BEAN SUPPORT: Once the sprouting broad beans get higher they may need support – a net or strings stretched between bamboos. Same for the peas just sprouting. PARSNIPS: Let me know how the parsnips are doing (the seedlings under the netting and bubble wrap). Thin out any growing too close. Don’t let the seedlings dry out. Remove bubble wrap but leave netting when weather gets warmer. 
JERUSALEM ARTICHOKES: I’ve left them in the ground. They’ll probably start growing like Jack’s beanstalk in the next months. Leave. WATERING: If and when we get a spell of several days without rain do some watering with the can (but not in bright sun!) and if the water in tanks runs out attach hose to the tap and refill. It's forbidden to water direct from the hose!  
BEES: If you need to phone Gill Rose about the bees she lives at ** Beaudesert Road and her phone her number is ****. She'll be making periodic inspections of the hive. Refer anyone else on the site who asks about the bees to her.  (If another incident of stone throwing from the park occurs put that piece of paling fence between the hive and the fence)  
SECRETARY VJA COMMITTEE: Gill Preston, VJA Site Secretary, * Wood Lane B20 2AA mob: ****. She shares her job on the VJA committee with Danny Webster (They are nice - keep in with them)  
BLACKBERRY BUSHES. If anyone starts cutting down the blackberry bushes by the iron fence or debates the heap of earth and weeds at the back of the plot next to Plot 14, point out that our plot boundaries end well before the fence – especially on the edge side (there’s a plot map slipped into the back shed wall near the door which shows this)  
TROUBLE: If you have trouble like the glass throwing incident catch one of the rangers when they come by in the park in that white van or stroll up the park compound in case you can meet them there. The supervisor of park grounds maintenance is Allen Broad – nice bloke – mob:*** (keep a brief record of any incident)  
POND: Just leave that for the moment. I haven’t made up my mind whether it’s a good idea or will work without running water.  
NEIGHBOURS: If anyone starts work on the next door plots be really nice. Nothing worse than ill-will between neighbours (however irritating expereince says they can sometimes be).  
STAY IN TOUCH: Keep in touch by email or Facebook. Send pictures if possible. In emergency we can talk on the phone. In case anyone questions you being on the plot…I have given Winnie Hall - a very responsible person - full permission to work on Plot 14 during my absence from the UK including access to the site combination lock. 
From Ano Korakiana

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Simon Baddeley