Been busy (375)

by Max Akroyd


First thing this morning I let the dogs out. Outside was pretty much the same temperature as inside. It was impossible not to spend a moment listening to the birds and breathing in the sweet-scented air. There’s a lot of grind keeping this place ticking over, but moments like that are the reward.

They also help enthuse me sufficiently to tackle the deluge of tasks. The impression that any sowing project would succeed right now is irresistable. Be it the polytunnel, the greenhouse or the herb garden, I’m possessed with an urge to plant stuff.

Having spent the brief morning cool planting more herbs out, I was determined to increase the pressure on myself of even more new plants – by setting up a sowing production line: outdoors! No use having wife and children sitting around enjoying themselves in the sun when they could be press-ganged into a horticultural sweat shop. 

Never mind that the polytunnel was approximately the temperature of Venus this afternoon, I was going to dig 21 holes to plant my tomatoes in… quick! pass me those courgette and cucumber plants… Pak choi will certainly bolt at these temperatures. Not a problem, we’ll eat the flowers.


The sauna


Previously, I’d tried everything  to get the polytunnel properly watered. I even filled it full of snow in that other dimension commonly known as January. Later, backwards and forwards with watering cans full from the water butt keeping the salad crops going.  All to no avail, it was still bone dry in there. So this week I weakened and bought a sprinkler. Two days with that baby running and the soil has been transformed into a yielding, vital thing. I could also experiment with working in the polytunnnel with the sprinkler on – surely guaranteed to keep me pleasantly cooled? No, I was just still hot, just lashed occasionally with a freezing-cold whip of cold water. 

After much ferrying to and fro of pots and compost, plus not a little chatting in the shade as we worked, the family managed to get the sowing schedule almost up to date. Hundreds of beans and pumpkins done and dusted. Very satisfactory, but there’s always someone busier than you are…