2010 seems to have finally realised what 'spring' means so I find myself having fretted about frost only a week or so ago, now fretting about wilted plants and rock hard soil. On the plus side my seedlings have suddenly sprung into life, sweetcorn, borlotti beans and pumpkins have all jolted upwards which is a relief as I wasn't sure if they'd been destroyed by the frost.
On the allotment I'm beginning to think that the main skill in gardening is prompt identification and effective elimination of pests.
My broad beans are being eaten by something or other. Lord knows what, there's nothing visible on them, I've put slug pellets down but no signs of dead slugs, I've put slug collars on them (the plants, not the slugs. Maybe tethering the slugs would be a better idea) but no improvement so I resorted to spraying them with a catch all 'Kill Stuff' type of spray which seems to have helped as they're looking much healthier now. My burgeoning broccoli plants have attracted the attentions of weird tiny, black, flea like things which are leaving tiny holes all over the place.
At least in the garden I know my enemies, they tend to be larger and furrier with only 4 feet. The neighbourhood cats are driving me demented, they climb on top of the mini greenhouse, they try and sit in my hanging baskets of tumbling toms (talking of which, pictured is my first mini tomato!) they jump into the sweetcorn seedlings and they dig up the runner bean seeds.
It's kind of like being under siege from all sides, suffice to say I've invested in miles and miles of protective netting which is slowly going up in various locations.
At this time of year the chickens have their annual holiday to the front garden, the back lawn is out of bounds for a month or two to give it a chance to grow again. Pictured below is one of the disconcerting consequences of this. I'm sitting in the living room, minding my own business, tapping away quietly on the laptop, have that 'being watched' feeling and spying beady eyes staring unblinking through the living room window .....