Tuesday, 30 July 2013
Saturday, 27 July 2013
Some caution needed on this press-release perhaps, since the team has published no new academic paper on the topic since 2006 and their last conference poster was in 2009. Since Nottingham are commercialising it as N-Fix perhaps they've been quietly slogging through the patents system for the last few years? But then why does the press release have no supporting quotes from other scientists? Maybe it's just due to the incredibly lazy science journalism / public-sector PR we get these days, but you might have thought that the Nottingham team would have included a few independent quotes.
Friday, 26 July 2013
Wednesday, 24 July 2013
Tuesday, 23 July 2013
Sunday, 21 July 2013
Up to water the plot again. On the way there: early Sunday church-bells sounding over Stoke town, and I spotted an old lady out washing the red-leaded front step of her terrace house. That does still happen!
It felt rather weird to be sitting on the plot when the sun wasn't shining! The run of fine weather is turning now, and we're in for "overcast with showers, hot and humid" until it breaks in a series of big thunderstorms. But until then, the watering is still needed.
It was my first real "harvest day" today. Three strawberries; another nice bag of blackcurrants; some of last year's garlic plants which had come up unexpectedly (a bit small, but they smell nice); a load of "cut n' come again" spinach; some potatoes; and a nice big load of the first courgettes...
My broad beans are not large in terms of plant-size, but they're producing the bean pods which is what matters... seen here a few mornings ago...
I also did an emergency quick fix on the hole in my shed roof, ahead of thunderstorms — a square of roofing felt and two bricks to hold it down!
Friday, 19 July 2013
Wednesday, 17 July 2013
Monday, 15 July 2013
Up to t' allotment early for watering. I also fished more useful bricks out of the skip, put a lot more woodchip down on the paths.
More blackcurrants coming along nicely, despite my recent picking...
And my first courgette forming already!
Gareth pointed out the source of the blizzard of fluff that's recently been floating up and down the valley like snow, and covering some of our allotments. It's from trees, and not Rosebay Willowherb — either Poplar or Aspen trees, both of which can produce fluffy seeds.
Saturday, 13 July 2013
The bored journalists in the mainstream media are diving right into Silly Season mode with KILLER HEATWAVE!!! scare stories today. "95F deadly heatwave" and "Heatwave to last a month - Today will be the hottest day in 7 years" squeals the Express. "Heatwave health warning" moans the Mirror. Broadsheets gravely warn the middle-classes: "don't go out in the midday sun". At least not without a knotted hankie on your head and a dripping choc-ice in hand :)
Still, it obviously is going to be hot today — so I walked up to the allotment plot early to water with the hose and watering can. Early enough, indeed, to be able to see Hanley looming poetically out of the valley mists...
My broad beans are starting to appear as bean pods, although pigeons are also starting to appear — to cast a beady eye over the plot :(
Friday, 12 July 2013
Thursday, 11 July 2013
Up to my plot for another bout of showering it with the hose, and a little light hoeing. I've found a better walking route to the allotments, one which doesn't involve either the up-'n-down of Hartshill Park or the traffic of Stoke town centre — and which doesn't feel so very long.
Two of my best courgettes are coming into flower...
The honeysuckle on top of my shed is looking superbly bee-friendly...
I found a curious egg underneath the apple tree. Quite large, but I couldn't see a nest of that size in the tree. I suspect some magpie had pinched it from a larger tree nearby, perhaps from a pigeon nest...
I ate my first strawberry, which didn't survive long enough to be photographed :) The strawberry bed is now under hoops and netting.
The great red tea-roses coming out a-plenty now, and I dead-headed the fading ones to keep 'em coming.
Hauled some wood out of the skip, to help build up my bonfire stock.
Wednesday, 10 July 2013
Tuesday, 9 July 2013
Popped into Sainsbury's for a mini shop about 7.30am — absolutely no-one on the checkouts, so I was forced to use one of their infernal checkout machines. In future, if I need shopping before 9am I'll be going instead to Tesco in Hanley or Morrisons on Festival Park. I also note that Sainsbury's management is doing other evil stuff, like calling for a blanket sales tax on all Internet shopping. Yuk.
Then up to the plot to get things watered with the hose and watering can before the hot sun. Picked some rhubarb, although it's getting a bit manky now. Also a small harvest of the blackcurrants to go with it...
I put more woodchip down on the path edges. Weedkiller might be easier :)
Shaded the new lavender with planks, since it looked as though it wasn't coping well with the intense sun.
Sunday, 7 July 2013
Up to the allotment early to water with the hose and can, which seems needed given the heat we've got coming...
I also dumped another few loads of woodchip down on the path edge. Hauled a small slab and two nice bricks out of the skip that Gareth has kindly provided at the main entrance. Any allotment can always do with more bricks — I can't imagine why people throw away good bricks like that.
Took all the brambles out of the top hedge, and cut the hedge itself back a bit to give the blackcurrants room to breathe.
I was thinking I might do some digging in the cool of the morning, but by 7.30am it was already too hot in the sun. Any digging now a 5.30am job, methinks...
Two cheap discount-label additions to complete the "herb garden" on the bottom plot. Lavender for the bees, and some thyme — probably a bit too close together, but they can be chopped back once they establish...
Friday, 5 July 2013
Up to the plot ahead of the week-of-heat that might even be the Great British Summer. Filled the water butt, and watered with the hose, as the ground's going to get quite dried out.
Tiny thumb-sized apples falling from the apple-tree, as the tree starts to balance the load it can carry.
Roses and potatoes in flower...
Plot generally looking good...
Cut back the remainder of the tallgrass up in the top wild-bit. Found that the blackcurrants up there are starting to fruit.