Out in the field (547)
by Max Akroyd
Ancient Chinese proverb say: “the best time to plant trees is ten years ago, the next best time is now.” Which is true, but in an unhelpful sort of way, especially if the funds aren’t there to buy many fruit trees now. For this very reason we have a far-flung area of the garden called ‘the Orchard’ which, so far, has ten gooseberry bushes and three tiny apple trees in it. There were four but I accidentally beheaded one of them with my strimmer, it was that small. So ‘the Orchard’ is an aspirational kind of name to be sure, and in the meantime my crop plan says I’ll be planting potatoes in the orchard – which is a bit strange.
Determined to get out into the garden proper after being cooped up in the polytunnel last week, I defied the weather and set to work in the Orchard. I rolled back some plastic mulch and dug twelve metres of what will be potato trench. I was soaking before too long but the soil stayed dry enough to work and we both benefitted from the warmth of the sun when it made a fleeting appearance. After years living in the north of England, it’s still a pleasant surprise to be able to feel the sun this late in the year: along with spring starting in late January, this for me constitutes reason enough to live at this latitude. Still, the work was just a soggy slog in today’s adverse conditions.
The next job was relocation of another twenty metre section of plastic mulch from the Triangle to a new area I’m creating above the perennial beds. I’m not sure what it’s for but I’ve got a notion of a maze of climbing bean beds to lose the kids in… I was half way through this rain-lashed task when Lucy, our labrador type dog, looked apologetically at me and snuck off back to the house. Not for her the loyalty of staying with her master until he succumbed to hypothermia. I’m not daft either so, as soon as the the mulch was down, I followed her as quickly as I could.