Allotment structures

It’s too wet to dig, and almost (but not quite) too wet to have a bonfire. So what did we spend Sunday doing? Apart from nursing the bonfire that we’ve been ‘saving’ up rubbish for all year (and by rubbish I mean brambles, old wood, bits of rotten fence etc, not plastics or green waste) we decided to put up the ‘rustic’ arch that has been kicking around the site all year. And I use the term kicking advisedly – I don’t think there’s been a single week where one or the other of us hasn’t tripped over the thing or kicked it on our way around the plot.

It’s a pair of old shop fittings that we rescued from a skip, which we’ve now sunk on either side of the path. The intention is to put some wire netting over the top to form the arch shape – as it took us a year to get the side supports into the ground, maybe, by Christmas 2010, we’ll have the top bit in place too!

And as we stood around, poking bits of old wood into the fire, I pondered a recent discovery, announced in the Linnean Society’s Botanical Journal, which suggests that petunias and potatoes may actually be carnivorous plants.

Yes, that’s right. Petunias and potatoes, it seems, have sticky hairs that trap insects, and they, along with several other commonly grown plants may turn out to be crypto-carnivores, by absorbing through their roots the breakdown products of the animals that they ensnare. We haven’t classified them as carnivores in the past, because unlike the Venus Flytrap, for example, they don’t actively demonstrate their ability to digest their prey. But roots easily absorb nutrients released from decaying animal matter, such as bodies, nearly all plants are capable of carnivorous behaviour by accident, if not by design. Hmm. The humble spud a carnivore … doesn’t seem that likely, but if you told me that pumpkins were man-eaters, I’d believe you, they grow fast enough to catch a slow-moving target!

This week's haul: Brussels Sprouts, kale, parsnips, celeriac, swede and the very first purple sprouting broccoli!

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Blogger Jo said...

So what's going to be grown over the arch? Something practical or something decorative?

December 15, 2009 at 9:02 AM  
OpenID said...

wow...your purple sprouting broccoli is ready??? MMmmm maybe I should go check mine?!?!?! As for the man eating spuds..not sure but I can always entice hubby down the plot next year and test it

December 16, 2009 at 11:10 PM  
Blogger The Allotment Blogger said...

Jo, I'm not sure - maybe sweet peas? Or maybe Cherokee Trail of Tears beans ... so yes, one or the other!

Tanya, we grew two varieties of purple-sprouting this year, one very early and one standard, as we can never get enough of the stuff!

December 18, 2009 at 8:16 AM  

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