*Please forgive the introduction of yet another regular subject to this blog, but I am so excited about the allotment that I really want to write about it. Plus, I think gardening counts as a creative endeavour, don’t you? And I will definitely be using the veg for some of my cooking posts later in the year!
For the past few weeks, I have had busy weekends down at the allotment. The weather here has been gorgeous since Easter. Some of the plots around mine, which I’m sharing with a friend, are already quite leafy. But we just got our allotment in January and neither of us have experience growing produce (though both our parents are keen gardeners), so we’ve been trying to keep our expectations realistic (aka low!) and working on a little bit at a time. We have a bench left by the previous plotholder, so whenever we get tired, we can sit down and admire the Victoria plum tree. Isn’t it lovely?
We did our first bit of planting on Easter Monday. Potatoes were the obvious choice because they are allegedly very easy to grow, so that’s what we went for.
I was really pleased with how easy they were to plant, though our neighbor told me yesterday we’ve planted the rows too close together. Oh, dear! I am sure we will get some kind of crop anyway. We’ve planted 3 rows of Rocket (earlies) and 2 rows of Kestrels (main crop). When I was there yesterday, I checked on them and was surprised and thrilled to see that there seems to be progress already.
Yesterday I spent nearly 4 hours down at the plot. The vast majority of that time was spent digging up grass and weeds on one of the wilder parts of our allotment, so it doesn’t really look like I did anything, but it certainly feels like I did.
I did do one more visible thing, too, which is plant some seeds. One row of rainbow beets went in, and so did a row of Early Nantes carrots.
My friend has big plans to plant out some onions and a few other plants today. Next to go in will be some peas and beans, which are currently establishing in seed trays at her house. Apparently the yellow French beans I bought in a grocery store are doing really well, and the others are starting to sprout up, too. I am getting pretty excited now, having just watched Kew on a Plate where Raymond Blanc made an incredible pea risotto.
The other nice thing about having a plot is discovering the stuff that was left there by previous owners. Only about a third of our plot is now ready for planting; about a third we should be able to get ready and plant within this year; and the last third is pretty overgrown and will be a lot of hard work. However, that said, there are some nice things within that final third – mint (I think it’s spearmint, but I’m not sure), lots of raspberries, and lots of strawberries! This section will take lots of time and work in the long run, but I’m hopeful we’ll get a bit of fruit for very little work this year.
But our neighbors have stunning plots, which I find a useful source of inspiration. I think this one’s particularly nice.