The new course fishing season seemed to have taken ages to come around this year. I have not been able to cast a line for a trout in the interim., I have either been too busy with work, or too busy at the allotment.
The weeks forecast ahead for the opening day was enjoyment; with high readings on the thermometer to boot. I would have to pack sunscreen along with all the fishing paraphernalia.
I arrived on the 15th at a favorite lake in Wessex, to be greeted by blistering heat. Fishing would be hard-going in these hot conditions.
Picture of a Golden Tench in a vintage landing net
I met another member who was there in advance of the glorious 16th who would be camping out in order to get the first cast at midnight.
Following a leisurely morning for me, and devouring a cooked breakfast with a large mug of tea, I arrived at the lake around 09:30. There were only two members there, which was amazing.
Temperatures rose during the day, and the fishing was tough. I had been advised to rake my swim as the lake had a fair bit of weed growth due to the recent warm weather and the low water levels. I did not like the thought of crashing a rake through the swim making so much noise and disturbance in the process. In the afternoon I gave in. I fetched the rake and began wielding it through the swim for about ten minutes dragging lots of weed out of the way. I did however pick out any oxygenating plants that I had dragged up and returned them too the water.
I could not believe it, the fish were far from scared off by all the commotion and were back feeding in the swim within half an hour.
All day I had watched what I though to be a pale mirror carp go back and forth between patches of lillies. Another member came round for a chat in the evening and we both stood and watched this fish approach my float, then stop. He said “grab your rod, hes going for it”. We could see the fish nose down and a patch of bubbles arose. Straight from the pages of Mr Crabtree “strike!” and the lake erupted. It was immediately apparent as soon as I saw the fish briefly out of the water, that this was not a Carp, but a Golden Tench. The angling gods were indeed looking down as I had dream’t of a Tench from the very last day 14th March of the last fishing season, I could not believe it.
Amazingly, this year the giant onion seeds have done very well indeed. I think I have only lost around 5 plants as opposed to last season when I lost a lot. maybe the sprinkling in cinnamon really does work to stave off infections.
Drilling larger holes in the black plastic I planted the young plants with more “rootgrow”. Hopefully the black plastic will keep the raised bed warm and keep moisture in the soil also.
The Kale and the three types of giant onion have germinated very successfully this season.
Today I have potted on the first plants; ‘Ailsae’ Onions and the Kale ‘Nero Toscana’.
Picture of a tray of transplanted seedlings into three inch pots on a bench in a greenhouse
Mixing in a good supply of Vermiculite and a good few handfuls of fish, blood and bone which will hopefully give the seedlings a real boost.
I also have put at the root of each Onion seedling a pinch of Mycorrhizal fungi. This will work with the plants root system and provide me with huge onions this year, I trust.
I have gone to even further lengths with the aim of producing a large onion. I have made a dedicated raised bed that I have raked in a lot of fish, blood and bone meal, along with lots of chicken manure pellets, and a whole bag of 6x manure. On top of this, I have secured a planting black membrane. This will heat up the ground far more efficiently, as well as suppressing all weeds, allowing air and water to pass right through.
I have temporarily placed planks of wood along the perimeter just to keep the membrane down on the soil, and protect it from the wind that whips across the allotment.
When the plants are ready to go out into the bed around the back end of April, I will drill 3″ holes along each planting line, about 9″ apart, and each onion will drop into these.
I have also heightened the arms along the perimeter of the raised bed in order to secure a taller wind break to protect the onions that I will install after I have planted out.
One of the first plants to show any leaf growth this year was the gooseberry. Now they are starting to show their first flowers, which will of course form the fruits.
The bees were loving the pollen on this very sunny day, and of course while they are feverishly at work, they are pollenating my plants at the same time. Hopefully I will get a bountiful crop of goose goggs this year all being well. Il keep an eye out for the greenfly this season.
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