Having been rained off yesterday I grabbed the chance to spend part of this afternoon on the plot.
I first emptied the kitchen waste bin into my compost bin and worried that the smelly mess was exposed so, after chopping it up with a spade, I covered it with some of the grass cuttings already in the bin.
Next I started on earthing up the maincrop potatoes in an effort to reduce the chance of a blight infection (following the Blightwatch warning yesterday.) I remembered to scatter some slugbait along the rows before I started as well as what was left in the pot of potato 10.10.10 fertiliser. This is almost the only time I use my 3 prong cultivator and draw hoe. I loosen the soil by drawing the cultivator along the side of each row and then use the draw hoe to pull the soil up into a ridge over the plants. The first two rows (Sarpo Mira and King Edwards) have made so much growth that I couldn't cover them but the second two rows (a second row of Sarpo Mira and a row of Cara) finished almost totally hidden. Hopefully the slugbait and the fertiliser will do a good job.
That done I moved on to digging out the chard that was going to seed. There was only three plants of rainbow chard but there was a whole row of Swiss chard. I cut the tops off the rainbow chard and a couple of tops of Swiss chard to take home, the rest became very expensive green manure as I chopped and folded the stems into the compost bin. That was added to by the seeding parsnips which I then also pulled up. I kept two of the best parsnip roots to try and make parsnip crisps at home. Finally I hoed off the weeds that had sprung up in the shelter of the row of Swiss chard, leaving them to die off inn tomorrow's promised sunshine.
I then decided to hoe between the rows of seedlings in the new roots bed as the weeds are growing at a fantastic pace and overwhelming the young plants. I had almost finished when a flash of red in the bed beside it caught my eye. It was a ripe strawberry in amongst the weeds smothering the strawberry patch. When I looked closely I found several more and started pulling out the weeds to expose the fruit. I soon found it necessary to fetch a hand fork and began weeding in earnest. While I found no more ripe fruit there was quite a crop developing, as well as a heap of weeds. Fortunately all the weeds are shallow rooted and came free fairly easily and I soon had completed nearly half the bed.