Summertime and the gardening is good

muwagaLooking back at my article for the April/May edition of The Wychwood, I appear to have been in a parallel world writing about a different time.  I hope that by the time you are reading this we can start to see our way out of this strange and alarming situation. Now I really appreciate how lucky we are to live in a village in the countryside. Life is already restricted for us but how much more challenging it must be if you do not have access to outside space, to be able to watch the seasons progress and experience the vibrant colours that nature presents as spring turns to summer.

It is a truism that no matter what the situation, life goes on.  Nature and our wildlife carry on oblivious of our problems.  As I go out to top up the bird feeders in the early morning and look up at blue skies (still a novelty after winter rain and cloud) there are no vapour trails and the birds say thank you by putting their efforts into the dawn chorus unchallenged by traffic noise.  I know things will return to some sort of new normal but there is something nice about the absence of the din of industry for now.   As we are forced to slow down I sense nature breathing a sigh of relief.

The garden and allotment form a large part of our therapy and after the chaotic shopping situation at the start of the lockdown we aim to get as much produce as we can from our plots. I don’t think we are alone; I have never seen the allotments so busy and seed sales have gone through the roof with many suppliers being overwhelmed by demand. So, if you have spare plants or seeds, let us know and we will endeavour to pass them on to those who may need them. On an uplifting note, for me at least, Father Christmas has delivered – his little helper dumped two loads of manure (the social distancing was not difficult) on Linda’s allotment and she has, grudgingly, granted me permission to wheelbarrow some to mine.  My no-dig philosophy has not progressed well after so much winter rain which compacted the soil surface into a hard pan.  I have had to content myself with surface cultivation to get the weeds out. It’s taken ages but, hey, I’ve got the time!

The soil is really warming up and the first indication is that the weeds are growing – after all weeds are just successful plants we have not found a use for yet. As usual we sowed some seeds too early, fooled by the warm daytime temperature, but the cold nights caused some to rot; a second sowing solved this (it is always a good idea to stagger sowings).  Tomatoes, peppers, aubergines and cucumbers are growing strongly and will soon be in the greenhouse with the promise of crops to come.   Hooray, come on summer!

MUWAGA activity is on hold.  The AGM will be held later and a decision on the Show will be made soon.  We have decided to roll over all existing memberships for free to next year (20/21).   For now, stay safe, enjoy your gardening and I look forward to seeing you all again in calmer times.

Happy gardening

Tony Lewis

June – July 2020