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A Wander around the Allotments in May

May is a busy month on the allotment, seeds need sowing, seedlings need thinning, weeds need hoeing and early crops reward us with early harvests. And of course our grass paths separating the four areas of the plot need regular mowing.

The Hawthorns in native hedges around the site are smelling good and looking good.

The wildlife all around is equally busy, seriously going about the business of breeding with all its inherited trials and tribulations. The weather, predators, prey availability and the search for food for both adults and nests full their young all contrive to make their lives difficult.

We shall begin our May lottie wander on our own plot to see what is going on. The soil is now easily worked so using the hoe to remove seedlings is easy so the plot is looking tidy.

Our brassicas are coming along well underneath their protective cover.
The perennial bug borders are looking good.
Multi-coloured radiccio.

Whenever we are working our plot or helping maintain the green spaces around the site, we are entertained by birds of prey, Buzzards and Kestrels soaring or hovering over our heads and around our feet Robins, Blackbirds, Blue and Great Tits, and Song Thrushes search for food for their young hoping we disturb grubs and bugs with our digging, raking and hoeing. More secretive in their search for fodder for young are the Black Caps, Woodpeckers and Nuthatches. Overhead the hirondelles, (Swallows, Swifts and House Martins), having recently returned from their winter haunts greedily scoop up insects on the wing.Although the weather has been warm and dry for a few days now the end of our plot where the clay comes nearest the surface and the topsoil is very thin, water still saturates the land, making working it impossible. But in this wetness in the ridged soil our Red Duke of York potatoes are pushing their purple tinted foliage out towards the sunshine.

Red Duke of York appearing above the algae tinted soil.
Our cordon Red Currants are flowering heartily and starting to set fruit.

In the orchards and over the meadows wildflowers are blooming alongside naturalised ornamental bulbs, attracting butterflies, the crinkle winged Commas, the Orange Tips with orange tips to their wings and the wonderful ethereal Holly Blues.

Bulbs and Buttercups under the fruit trees in the orchard.
We attract predator insects into the orchards with these insect homes. They are a wildlife friendly pesticide.

The Buddleia Borders are coming to life now and the Spring Garden remains very colourful.

Two plot holders, Phil and Doreen, have created a new bed in a shaded area near their plot and made it accessible for all to enjoy.

Most plots are ready for sowing and planting or partly planted up and sown.

Our May Working Party jobs were decided upon by where the shade was, as it was too hot to work in the full sunshine. We managed to get most of our tasks completed though.

Heads down for weeding the meadows.
Kneeling down on the job attacking those pernicious weeds that creep into the meadows.

Our Willow Dome has had its doorway and windows woven and neatened up and the sides pruned and woven. It is a favourite feature with children as somewhere to listen to a story, or as a play den, and as adults for somewhere to escape to at coffee time from the heat of the day.

As we have recently launched our site’s Wise Watering Campaign it is heartening to see guttering and butts appearing on several sheds.

By greenbenchramblings

A retired primary school head teacher, I now spend much of my time gardening in our quarter acre plot in rural Shropshire south of Shrewsbury. I share my garden with Jude my wife a newly retired teacher , eight assorted chickens and a plethora of wildlife. Jude does all the heavy work as I have a damaged spine and right leg. We also garden on an allotment nearby. We are interested in all things related to gardens, green issues and wildlife.

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