Mystery Crop

Mr. Lightbody is still standing guard, but over what?

Two months after the game cover crop went in, some odd things have happened. One species from the kale/turnip/radish mix has done brilliantly well and some of the shoots are now almost three feet tall, with small clusters of white and pinkish flowers at the end of each stem. The only problem is that I’m still totally unable to tell what it is. The shape of the flower makes me think that it’s a radish plant, but when I pulled one up, there was no sign of anything even slightly resembling a radish below the soil surface.

I would have no problem with these plants if it wasn’t for the fact that they are so tall and skinny. There are thousands of them, but each plant takes up such a small space that it can hardly be called cover. There are few leaves, and they are all small. I wonder if the wet summer has meant that rather than grow small and bushy, the radishes have bolted into leggy weeds without ever having consolidated their progress underground. It’s a bit of a serious question, because unless the radish plants get a second wind and thicken out a bit, the game cover is not going to be able to provide much in the way of cover.

There are kale plants here and there, but it’s hard to see why they haven’t done as well as they should have. Perhaps the weather’s been so wet that they never really got out of the starting blocks. There is a huge quantity of turnips, but the pigeons are fixedly eating the tops, leaving the shaws as little more than a tatter of stems. A few have managed to escape the pigeons, and they are now proudly showing purple turnip heads which are almost the size of chicken eggs. The thin strip of triticale has done superbly well, and I’ll certainly have to bear it in mind for the future as having serious potential on the Chayne.

In amongst the game cover, the bee mix is starting to crackle into life with spots and blots of colour at around ankle height. The phacelia and borage are coming through brilliantly, and there is a noticeable concentration of butterflies and insects on the field. I suppose that providing a general boost to the local wildlife was the aim of the game from the beginning, so I can hardly complain. I just hope that something steps into the breach and bushes out, because things are looking pretty sparse in the meantime.

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