Wednesday 18 March 2020

Swift Visit - Parsnips In

I made a swift visit to the allotment this afternoon and took the kitchen compost and five buckets with lids worth of coir and MPC that I grew the tomatoes in last year and started to lay it down in one of the new beds as a mulch and soil conditioner. The square flower buckets with timber to be burn are still covered with the secondary glazing frame at the end of the bed. 

Yesterday I managed to cut more weed membrane for the paths that will go in around the next two beds that are yet to be dug and weeded when the weather has been dry for a few days. 

I did have a mishap when cutting one sheet but trimmed the 600mm wide one back to 2.4m to use as a winter anti weed cover for one of the narrow beds. The tulips in the containers are coming up nicely. 

The bed I was going to put the parsnips in was covered with a lot of blue water pipe so I decided to clear the one next to it. I raked the surface a little more level and put one of the 105 hole Beetroot / Onion planting membraned on it and then proceeded to use my favourite blub planters that is more or less loo roll diameter to extract bores loo roll deep using an elastic band on the shaft to gauge the depth.  

It didn't take long to get all the loo rolls in situ so then I watered and then covered the parsnips with fleece and the top of the bed with a solid sheet of weed membrane and then put the secondary glazing panels on to help warm up the soil in the rest of the bed.

The Coronavirus (COVID-19)

If we are going to be locked down and not allowed to visit the allotment I wanted to get something in the ground that takes a long time to grow and could be left on its own if needed, It's still too early to plant out too much stuff but I will try and get in the ground what I can before the end of the month, i.e. Carrots, Beetroots, Sprouts, Cabbage, Spring Onions, and New potatoes. I see this not unlike the Dig for Victory in the Second World War, as it's proving difficult to obtain supplies now, Christ knows what things may be like if "At Risk" citizens we get locked down for four months as other nations are suggesting.

The UK Government has moved from the 'contain' to 'delay' phase, however I see that President Emmanuel macron announced measures only allowing French citizens to leave their homes to visit food and pharmaceutical shops or seek medical attention.

My wife has Lupus and is on a nocturnal ventilator already as she needs to be vented of the Co2 that her lungs have built up during the day, otherwise she would kill herself with her own exhaust fumes. She was in hospital with Pneumonia three years ago and only just made it through that episode, if she gets COVID-19 the odds are not good, and she is only 60 in October this year.

It took a year and a bloody good NHS consultant at St George's and another at The Royal Brompton Hospital to get her to a point where she could stand from sitting and walking unassisted in the house by furniture surfing once again. She can't walk any great distance and has to use a wheel chair if we go out anywhere.

I'm also in the high risk category as I have type 2 Diabetes and high blood pressure and a history of having bronchitis as a child. Bird Flu did wipe me out for a week some years ago, putting me in bed for four days.

Allotments are places in the outdoors where it is possible to undertake healthy physical exercise in a communal environment without needing to be physically close to other people.

However I do worry about the communal gate which is metal as the virus can live for 2 to 3 days on steel or plastic. 

The SAS recommend that if you are going to the allotment to take wipes with you to the plot and, for example, consider cleaning tools and/or your hands after opening or closing gates or shed doors that might have been used by others.

The problem is that one can't get hold of hand sanitiser or wipes as the shelves at all the stores are empty, and the water on the plot is not turned on until April and if it was all plot holders would be using the metal tap so it would make it a bit of a mockery anyway.

Only time will tell, at the moment I'm the one trying to get shopping and my youngest daughter still lives at home and she works in an office so that's the routes that the virus may get to us. Only time is going to tell I guess and we will just have to see how things unfold in the coming days and months.

Here is what the back of the light industrial unit behind my plots looked like six years ago

And after six years of not really moving very fast with this conversion it has been extended and turned into residential. One of our plot holders has been waiting six months to be able to move in as they have dragged there feet so much. I have never seen such a bunch of disorganised contractors, most are Eastern European, don't speak English or have very little English and have two speeds slow and full stop!

They are so near completion , however I have heard that they may pull off because of the Coronavirus and COVID-19.

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