Gardening In A Pandemic (Who’s Klaus Schwab When He’s All At Home Anyway?)

First In The Village
© Colin Cross, Going Postal 2021

It’s always nice to see the first lambs in the village fields. The three (just visible in the header picture) were born on Sunday 28th March, 4 days earlier than expected. This little field and the one behind it are south east facing and these little creatures will benefit from a day in the sun, before likely being taken back into a shed overnight, as the weather is due to close in again. I spoke to the father of the farmer, like me he sees the first lambs as a sign of the perpetuity of this rural lifestyle of ours. I no longer work with sheep, something I did on a part time, unpaid basis until a couple of years ago, but I’m all too aware of how important their existence is to those that breed them and bring them on to a saleable size. I like to think the future holds some promise when I see this new life, but who knows what’s around the corner?

“Bodging Up” The Rabbit Runs
© Colin Cross, Going Postal 2021

The best laid plans, and all that. During the winter months I’d decided to repair and/or replace, where most needed, the block work foundation of the greenhouse, so long as I could maintain the structural integrity. Much discussion and many inspections later, complete with copious amounts of “Umm-ing” and “Ahh-ing” led us to the conclusion that it’s a far bigger and much more complex job than just cleaning back and rendering. I’m not sure how much longer we’ll get out of this house (the last complete one still standing out of an original 5 ). Dave seems to think it’s got at least another 10 years in it. I’m not so sure. Having said that, does it really matter? Once Mr Schwab, his mates at the UN, The Bilderberg Cabal and the Silicon Valley technocrats have completed their dastardly scheme, to cull half of the global population and move those left in Africa to Europe, so that Africa itself can become a game reserve & playground  for the Mega Rich, I’ll be dead and the only agriculture left will be based in huge, robot operated Mega-factories, growing crickets and withciti grubs to produce insect protein to feed the slave class. Thinking about it, making the most of the next 10 years, on that basis, seems like a reasonable enough ambition. Fingers crossed.

The First Bean
© Colin Cross, Going Postal 2021

I think it was Sunday, although the days do tend to meld into one, when I saw first evidence of direct planting of my pulses. It’s always a real pleasure to see the first green shoots, it’s a harbinger of (hopefully) more of the same to come and the good healthy eating that is all a part of the cycle. Having been somewhat flippant in my previous paragraph there is a potentially serious side to all this current, seemingly endless shenanigans. If there does come a time, in the near future, when the semi self reliance I’ve been sort of preaching for a couple of years becomes a thing, will we even be allowed to grow for ourselves? Will we be allowed to forage for berries and fruits? Will we be allowed to hunt, with slingshot, snare or bow, small animals (in lieu of being unable to afford farmed meat)? If we are allowed to grow, to whom will we pay our tithe? These and other questions play on my mind during my every waking hour. Who is Klaus Schwab when he’s all at home, anyway? He’s a nearly 83 year old man, with a couple of degrees (Engineering & Economics) and a Masters in Public Administration and he’s head of the World Economic Forum. He’s given to wearing silly clothes (think Ming The Merciless without the tache) and he has a secret plan (that everyone on twitter knows about), to become King Of The World. He hopes to achieve this by making everyone speak in slogan sentences of exactly 3 words. He thinks anyone who isn’t either a billionaire, or him, should eat insects and live in a hut, burning turf for heat & light. He’s believed to be the cleverest man on the planet (by his wife), & has a solution for every problem. His pals are (allegedly) George Soros (Devil Incarnate & Blair handler), Mark Zuckerberg (Crown Prince of Darkness), Ed Balls (BBC Useful Idiot & Bilderberg Wannabe), John Major (Grey Man, Mover & Shaker), Peter Mandleson (Bag Carrier & Oligarch Promoter), the previously mentioned Ming The Merciless (Emperor of Mongo), who he met the last time he ventured out of the Solar System, and Noggin The Nog (The King of Noggland).

Spindly Stems, No Good
© Colin Cross, Going Postal 2021

Enough of all that though, back to less serious issues.  If you don’t keep an eye on your tomatoes they can get spindly before their time and put themselves in danger of losing viability. I left the ones in the top picture unattended for just one day, with the results you see. Potting on is always a challenge and needs care and thought. Working as carefully as possible, so as not to damage the fragile root system, I eased them out of their smaller containers before carefully potting them on into the larger pots, making sure the root system reached the bottom (of the pot).

That’s Better (Fingers Crossed)
© Colin Cross, Going Postal 2021

As you can see from this picture, I have managed to get the majority re-potted. Now there’s another problem, I inadvertently left all the plants, there are 30 or so, in a place that was just a little too cold for such young seedlings. Consequently they’ve slowed growth right down and a couple of the leaves have started to show some signs of dying back. It isn’t blight, I’m pretty sure, but it is worrying. I’ve set some more seeds, which hopefully I won’t need, but if the worst comes to the worst then I’m going to be planting out late and starting to harvest late, I just have to hope I’ve either managed to save my first batch or we have a longer than normal summer.

Thriving Strawberry Plants
© Colin Cross, Going Postal 2021

On a far more positive note, the strawberries appear to be thriving. The more than several hours spent removing the dead growth and “runners” before trimming the root systems right back seems to have paid real dividends. I just have to hope the fruit will be as vibrant as the plants appear to be. I’m very optimistic.

Direct Planting Pays Off
© Colin Cross, Going Postal 2021

Having dispensed with the wire mesh fencing I’ve used to support both beans and peas in the past I’m still working on a method of support that makes it easier for me to manage the production of edible pods. I don’t want to allow all side shoots to grow on, they creates an unholy mess of a row of plants and tend to produce pods of differing sizes and sporadic maturing. I’m hoping for “small and often” in the warmer, earlier months of June & July, with continuing growth up until August (peas) and September for the beans. I won’t be drying any beans this year, I have 4 or 5 pounds still to hand. The plan is that any which aren’t eaten on the day of harvesting will be blanched & frozen in smallish batches to allow us to enjoy all year round. This worked well with the runners a couple of years ago, just refining it a little this time around. The canes are simply there to identify the young shoots, so they don’t get trodden down, before the support system goes in, hopefully next week (w/c 05/04).

A Cumbrian “Yawk Up”
© Colin Cross, Going Postal 2021

Peas aren’t really a greenhouse crop and I’ve constantly battled to keep the plants from literally drying to death during the hottest periods of the summer. I’m giving this a go. a “Yawk Up” is simply the process of taking something and using it for a purpose for which it was never intended. To that end, the adaptation of this mesh, which I found in a corner of the tractor shed, to create a shade over the pulses may not be a true “yawk up” as no one left alive has a clue what its original use was. Anyway, it’ll get rolled out along 3 supporting wires and be secured with “Michael” (string) to hopefully offer some protection between the hours of 12-3 or 4 during June and July. As with all such things, success isn’t guaranteed, but nothing ventured, nothing gained, as they say.

Next Time; Tomato-gate, Pulse support systems, Hooptedoodle, A Deeper Look Into The Machinations of “Them”

© Colin Cross 2021

The Goodnight Vienna Audio file