Clearing up the allotment after winter, it takes time and effort. I need to take it gently, my shoulder is still on the mend, but to get in there and start clearing the weeds, tidying up, organising and sorting the plot is a good feeling.
The earth is cold and damp, but workable. I need to be careful not to tread heavily on the damp clay soil and compact it, I work off a scaffold board, shuffling along, trying to reach the weeds and pull them without disturbing the garlic, I need to get in and clear the weeds before they settle in and get too comfy.
And what’s the dusty grey/brown stuff around the garlic? I’ve cleared the shed at home, we keep a metal bucket in there for the ashes from the fire – it’s a case of not wasting a thing. I read somewhere, years ago, about using wood ash on plants in the garden – fruit and garlic like it. I’ve no idea as to the science behind it all, but it feels good to use a waste product. So the garlic has had a dusting, a dusting of ash.
Feeling the warmth of the sun on my back as I tidied bags of leaf mold, sorted out the mulches and weed suppressant, standing back surveying and working out what is to go where. It felt good. Clearing plants that haven’t made it through the winter – the cabbages and cauliflowers failed again! Noticing what is filling out, showing signs of fresh new growth – the spinach, chards and kales are all looking brighter for some warmth and rain. They will be pulled up in a month or so, but I will have had some fresh pickings in the meantime.
Homegrown food has been on the menu with an Allotment Winter Quiche of leeks, kale, spinach and feta; bowls of Purple Sprouting Broccoli, gratins of leeks and kales feature. A new discovery for me this year has been a variety of Kale – Ragged Jack. It has striking purple/red veins and frilled leaves, it’s a provides me with an earthy tasty treat at this time of year.
The surprise this Spring has been the Mustard Greens, they have also survived the winter, I left them in the ground as I’d run out of time to clear the plot before we went away, my poor time management has had a silver lining. The leaves of the Mustard Greens are strong purple and deep green, they pack a real peppery punch, perfect shredded into winter salads or quickly stir fried in with other veggies. And I’m still picking and eating the winter radishes like Daikon and Hilds Blauer Herbst Und Winter – as their names suggest they stand all winter, their outer leaves are now looking the worse for wear, but underneath the soil all is well and tasty.
It’s been a good few days at home, getting out and about, making plans, sowing a few seeds, sharing some meals. The start on clearing is good, but there’s plenty more to do before I can start any planting; there’s manure to shift, compost to turn, fixing and sorting the greenhouse. Will there be enough hours in the day to accomplish these tasks?!