Monday, 27 July 2020

Ant Music

I’ve been on leave and the weather was glorious at the beginning of last week but is now rather dull and rainy. On the better days we visited the plot and, although it’s not obvious, we have done some clearing and I sowed a row of cut & come again salad leaf and Jamie sowed some Speedy dwarf french beans.
We’ve harvested our first courgettes and we're pleased that some of our over-wintered onions didn’t flower, so we have some lovely whites and browns, but no reds. 
We were given some delicious runner beans and french beans by Jenny; Ivan gave us some Rooster potatoes and perpetual spinach and my sister gave us some multi-coloured tomatoes (as well as the multi-headed sunflower in the top photo).
The beans went into a separate meal, but Saturday night’s meal was all delicious fresh veg.
I'd pre-wilted the spinach for the bottom layer, then tomatoes, then potatoes & onions and finally pre-fried courgettes and a cheese topping.
This is something else we've been eating since Jamie pops into Waitrose every week or so at the moment. Ever since we gave up eating meat, about 30 years ago, I've fancied kippers (strange really, as a meat eater I hardly ever ate them!) but this 'not bacon' has satiated my craving - I definitely think it's more kipper-like than bacon but, whatever, it's delish!
On the sunny plot days I mostly just sat under my sun umbrella watching the wildlife. The robin has his young one with him and the magpie family keeps a close eye for us to move. I saw a cat pounce on a slow worm! I made chase but the cat kept a few steps ahead of me even though the slow worm was clearly wriggling too much and got away. Good to know there are (I presume there are more!) slow worms on site, we certainly have plenty of slugs and snails for them. I had meant to do the Big Butterfly count, but have until 9th August so hope the sun re-appears. There are so many peacocks this year and blues - but they're so hard to photograph as they flutter by. 
Our allotment friend, Alison, pointed out that much of the rhubarb on site has developed some sort of fungal infection. Our giant plant on Plot 7 has it, but the plant on Plot 3 seems to have escaped it so far. As long as people dispose of the infected leaves/stems carefully it should hopefully not cause too many problems and by next year the plants should be fine. It's a shame, we normally just leave the plant to die back naturally rather than cutting back the leaves/stalks before the first frost and they won't be able to go in the compost bin.
I've done a bit more embroidery this weekend. I bought a new coat for our Tenerife holiday in February and when I got home I found a hole in it, so I've mended it and added a bit of colour to the coat.
So the song, obviously, is by Adam and the Ants and refers to one of our compost bins which has been occupied by ants - rather impressive isn't it? Look what they've done to all that garden and kitchen waste, amazing!
So here's the song for you to bang your drum along to.


  1. I have ants in the compost bin too, i just don't have the heart to do damage with them, so have just kept topping it off with kitchen waste and left them to their devices, but yes - amazing your compost bin. I wonder why they went into the compost bin of all the places?! Adore the embroidery and what a way to individulaise a garment. Ah the Waitrose in Cardiff closed down, so the nearest to us i think may be either over the border somewhere in England and perhaps Abergavenny - so that facon bacon will have to wait.

    1. Ah, you’re thinking the same as Jamie re the ants. I’d quite happily move them on now.
      I don’t think I’ll have any plain garments from now on ­čśü it’s so pleasing to do!

  2. 4 things

    1. Great post
    2. Last time I thought my rhubarb was diseased I suddenly remembered that I had put a dustbin over one clump to blanche it. Once I took the bin off the leaves reacted to the cold.
    3. Ants in your compost indicates it is too dry. Either add lots of green material or water directly.
    4. Dandy highwaymen prefer lupins.

    1. :-) Great comment, thanks.
      We need to recover that compost bin but Jamie is feeling more ant-friendly than I am at the moment...

  3. I hate ants - everywhere we dig we find an ant’s nest. I pull up a weed and ants rush at me in attack mode. We have ants colonising pots in the greenhouse. We have teeny ones, big ones, red ones, black ones and they all try to bite me. I always tuck my trousers into thick socks as ants up trouser legs are not to be recommended.

    No butterflies really to count yet despite buddleias in full flower. August 9 is our wedding anniversary so I should remember that date.

    1. Oops! Think we touched a nerve there Sue ;-) They do seem to be everywhere this year and I’m sure when I was little it was only red ants that bite - not anymore though!

    2. I hate ants and they hate me.

  4. Your onions look perfect! I have never been able to grow a single globe. But the ant nest is surreal, makes me think it must be a massive colony of them.

    1. Oh, thanks Phuong! We were very pleased with them, especially the white ones. Your climate must just be wrong for them - what a shame as they are so useful. Maybe next year...?
      I know! Those ants and all their pupae. We did look earlier in the year and all the flying ants were there too, but they flew off a few weeks ago


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