A whir and a whirl. Life is a rush; fabulously busy weekends spent with friends, late nights out watching incredible street dance-theatre, evenings in the pub cheering on your team at football – and dealing with the let-down, 8 year old birthday parties, 50 years old birthday parties, volunteering in the allotment shop, committee meetings, allotment maintenance. I think I’ll stop there I’m tired just looking at the list let alone partaking in it!
Plenty to celebrate but I need a few gaps, some pauses in amongst it all to re-group and re-gather my senses. All too brief and spare moments are spent on the allotment, planting, tieing in, staking, weeding, watering, mowing, manuring ground.
The rush that is summer planting is nearly over, a brief lull before the sowing and planting of winter salads, carrots, radish and greens..
The spring and early summer have been cold and wet. A strange time. The plants normally in the ground and thriving are shivering in the wind – beans and courgettes are yellow from being too cool. I’ve pretty much given up on the sweetcorn this year, such poor germination and now time is running out in terms of it growing and ripening. Repeated sowings of carrot seeds was needed as the cool weather proved too much for them.
Adaptable is the name of the game. I have to accept what life throws at me or rather what nature throws at the allotment – whether it is salty sea storms, hot humid days or chilly nights and adapt. I need a plan b, c or d to deal with it all. And you know what plan d is don’t you? Yes, it’s the one where I shrug my shoulders and say, oh well next year….. at least the ….. is doing well…….
The pleasure that is the allotment is always there. Positives are all around with peas moving from flowers to pods with teeny teeny peas inside, I just munch the whole sugary-sweet pod when I’m working; the greens, chards, beetroot, radish and fennel are all putting weight on. The flowers are coming into their own – lots of self-seeded nasturtiums, poppies, marigolds, lavender, love in a mist, cosmos and sweet peas to please me and to tempt the buzzies.
I’m picking bunches of radishes – perfect as a snack or added to noodles or fried rice, parathas (stuffed flatbreads), salads and sandwiches. The punch of homegrown radish is formidable in comparison to its shop bought cousins.
The salads are fattening up in the cool wet weather, soon we’ll be picking fresh leaves to have with the homemade chive vinegar. And the beetroot isn’t too far behind with their glossy leaves of reds and yellowy-green shimmering and shining in the sunlight; I’ve used them as border and edging plants – I try to make the plot look as pleasing to the eye as I can.
There is a lull in the strawberry picking, I have some later varieties planted – the plan is to keep us in strawberries for as longs as is possible. Well that’s the plan…. The currants, oh they are sweet and tart at the same time, but more about those in another post. And I spied raspberries the other day, a little while yet but they are there!
For now I’ll just leave you with some show and tell photos of the allotment. Warts and all. No matter how tidy I try and keep it looking it’s essentially a practical working place, bags of compost, water butts, buckets and trugs, cardboard for weed suppressant, bags of weeds composting slowly in the sun, straw covered ground and paths, grass clippings and shredded paper as mulches, plastic bottles on the end of canes as markers rattling in the wind; it’s all here – including the broken arch that finally came apart in a recent storm. I plan to replace them with hazel stakes, they will stand up to the salty sea air that corrodes almost anything that is in its path.
Happy gardening folks!