Wednesday 25 March 2020

Lockdown Day 2 - Spring in the Allotment

Working in the allotment is allowed as exercise under the new lockdown rules here in the UK, and as I am not able to work at the moment, I am using the opportunity to get things done while the sun is shining. There's no communal facilities or shared gate (all allotments have their own locked gates) and it is very infrequent to meet someone on the access path.

Spring is definitely here, the damson is starting to come into blossom but I fear it may be too early this year as frosts are predicted for the weekend. 

Last year, the timing was spot on and the tree (a minarette with delusions of grandeur!) was laden with damsons, and we've got lots of lovely jam stored away. 

The first bumble bee I have seen this year was taking advantage of the blooms. 

The blueberry bushes are coming into blossom too. The three we have are standing in their own pots as they need ericaceous compost rather than standing in soil although I would expect that if you have acidic soil they would do well in the ground. Once the berries start appearing they will get sealed into a fruit cage to protect from hungry blackbirds!
The allotment is divided into five sections and the fourth one down this year is potatoes. It looks disorganised at the moment but there are two full bags of Red Duke of York and a bag of Cara potatoes down there in rows, with plenty of compost to keep them happy. Hopefully by the middle or back end of June we will be enjoying the first new potatoes. 
I need to decide what to do with the rhubarb this year. Rhubarb jam in our experience does not seem to last very long once opened and we rarely have puddings at our main meal. There's not enough of it to make wine with, although the remains of last year's parsnips will be and I have that in mind to start over the next week or so. 

After I have published this post I need to get on and put some more brassica seeds into pots to start off in the house, and start some more peas too. 

Noticeably fewer people were about today when I went to get some fuel for the car, which is good, that means the advice to stay in as much as possible is being taken note of, at least round here, although I have seen pictures online of crowded trains in London still. The tighter the restrictions now, the quicker normality will return and, quite bluntly, fewer people will die or have serious illnesses. 

I've seen someone arguing online that this virus is somehow the Earth fighting back against humans. Whilst I can understand how one could wish to arrive at that viewpoint given the way us humans have messed with the planet and nature, it is actually the case that virus mutations happen all the time and species transfer of viruses happens too, there's no deliberate plan going on, merely opportunism and evolution.  It was inevitable that this sort of global pandemic would occur sooner or later, although I think it was expected that is would have been an influenza mutation rather than a coronavirus. What I do hope is that afterwards, the opportunity to rebuild the economic system in a much planet friendly, lower carbon way is taken, the value to society of what some regard as "low skilled occupations" is re-evaluated and those who have sought to use this pandemic for their own gain or who have used it to pursue (or use) an ideological agenda end up far from positions of power. 

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