Posted by: sweetpea | June 26, 2006

A visit from mum

I’m not sure whether I’ve had a good weekend or a stressful one, both I guess. The reason…mum was visiting!

Saturday morning I popped into town, except popped turned into a morning in town because I spotted the Mango sale 🙂 I made it back home just as mum was pulling up so my timing was spot on. After a leisurely lunch, I recreated the mozzarella and tomato paninis I’d had in Italy, we headed out. First off was a quick dash to pick up the CD’s from the guys at camera mart, then it was off to Dean’s garden centre. I’d decided to make use of the car and fetch some peat-free growbags for growing my melons in. I’d picked up the ring culture pots from Barnitts in the morning and all I needed was compost to fill them and a substrate to sit them on. Growbags were the cheapest option, and the lightest, maybe I’ll work up to gravel next year. I also showed mum a greenhouse similar in size to the one I’m hopefully going to have in the lottie at some point in the future, and surprise surprise she was rather more negative than encouraging…Grrrr!

We dropped everything at the lottie and I gave mum a quick tour before we headed home via tesco to cook and eat.

Sunday morning we had an early start as I needed to be at the lottie shop by 10am. I had time enough to give mum instructions on the jobs she could tackle i.e. the masses of weeding, before I went to open up. It was fairly busy for a change, I had a little moan with Maria about mum, and had a visit from a lovely black cat. I noticed a certain someone cycle past (I wonder if that was the origin of the rather pleasant dream I had last night), had wondered if he still had a plot. He didn’t seem to stay that long so I don’t know if he was going to a plot or to the uni not that it really matters, was just nice to see him around as haven’t seen sign of him for months.

After I’d shut shop I headed back to the lottie to find mum still weeding the same bed, 2hrs later! That’s a lot of weeds, and unfortunately I forgot to take before and after photos. It looked great after she’d finished, neat rows of onions, carrots, parsnips, shallots and rainbow chard 🙂 My first job was to plant the runner bean and pea seeds I’d sprouted at home to make up for the no-show ones. Out of all the runner beans I’d originally sown, only one survived! After lunch, mum carried on weeding and I started by refilling the waterbutt, only to return later to find the water level less than it had bean to begin with! Turns out that after I’d filled the butt and gone to disconnect the hose from the tap it had started siphoning the water back out of the butt!

Carrots, onions, parsnips, rainbow chard and shallots. This bed was covered with weeds and it took mum 2hrs to get it looking like this!

Runner bean! Climbing french beans and peas.

Then it was time for the big job of the day, planting up the ring culture pots in the greenhouse. I figured that it would be best to move the greenhouse slightly to make access easier as I’d originally only left a small gap to squeeze in through the entrance. Once this was done I arranged 6 small pallets inside to create a raised floor that would support the growbags on a more level base. Next I placed 2 growbags along each side, I’ll probably also put a few pots at the back as I have more plants than room in the growbags!

Now for the fiddly bit. I took one of the ring culture pots, which are in fact pot shaped tubes of cardboard like material with no base. I placed each one in turn on the growbag, drew around it and cut out a hole big enough to push the end of the tube through. Once in place, I filled each pot ¾ full with compost and planted a melon seedling in the centre. I did this 6 times but have another 6 to do as I ran out of time! I also tried to figure out a watering system for the growbag but my first attempt was far from perfect so I shall have to work on that one when I have more time.

Ring culture in the greenhouse with my melons.

A view of the plot

After a quick tidy of the plot we headed back to the car through an almost deserted allotment site being as the football was on. The roads on the way home were eerily quiet. We had time for a much needed soak in the bath before heading out to Ristorante Bari, and Italian Gianluca had recommended, and it brought back so many memories. I shall have to take Kim and Niall there so we can re-live some of our little adventure. It was great to eat good food and hear the sound of ‘Grazie’ and ‘Prego’ again, I felt like I was back in Italy itself 🙂

So all in all a great weekend the only downside was mum and her moaning and constant little criticisms that just really grate on me, but there’s no point complaining as she’ll never change. It did make me think that it’s no wonder my self confidence and self belief aren’t that great at times!

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