We sowed the turnips and I trusted the seed drill to work for me. It was a matter of blind faith, and a cavernous leap of ignorance.
I found the first seedlings coming through after a week. Things looked promising, but over the subsequent days I began to worry. Success seemed horribly patchy and threadbare. There were long streaks of empty soil and gaping holes in the uniformity of young plants. I began to panic, and wondered if I should consider wiping the slate clean and running the seeder again with a closer eye to detail.
I spent several hours filling up the gaps by hand, and the slog of it showed me how slow this kind of work can be. It’s no wonder they invented machines to sow turnips; each minuscule pinhead is a separate responsibility, and I fumbled at the ground until my fingers were stiff I yearned for last year when the oats were sown in five minutes like a blizzard of drunken confetti.
But now we’ve had three days of good rain. The gaps are filling out and there are long chains of progress along the top of every drill. Things look fairly good, and I have to kick back against my nervy pessimism which leapt to the worst case scenario. Of course the slugs have made merry with many of the new seedlings, but I can soon flesh out those gaps with a second generation when the moment comes. Almost everything from here (including the harvest) will be done by hand, so it’s no trouble to work around a staggered weft.
And while I peer anxiously at this tiny crop, I can hardly ignore the multitude of strange and unforeseen weeds which have arrived in a blare with the turning rain. These are the boost and the bonus of this project, and it’s tempting to let them run amok and sow their own crop of beasties and birds.