Today Fiona went to check up on the state of affairs up at the allotment.
Predictably given the weather in the last few weeks, it is still very dry. The new fruit trees do not seem to be happy and might be dying. The plants in the raised beds (Emilia Hazelip style) however, are still ok even without any water which is a blessing since the water catchment still refuses to catch.
Aside from the drought, the established fruit trees have been infested with a plague of caterpillars. This might be linked to the warm spring causing insects to be at peak numbers before birds begin to forage intensely for their young (see McCarty, 2001; Conservation Biology). Such problems have also been reported in previous years in for instance the UK.
The extreme weather has meant that we now have to switch to summer planting techniques to minimise water use and stress on young plants. So, watch out for an evening planting session next week…