Allotment delights*

 

 

*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.

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Planting Rocket potatoes.

 

 

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The rows of potatoes, all planted and marked.

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.

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It’s alive! Teeny tiny potato plant.

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.

 

 

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Bamboo plant labels

 

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Two rows of seeds, watered in. I am a little worried I didn’t use enough water, though!

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.

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Mystery mint.

 

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Rampant raspberry patch #1, plus some of our dandelions.

 

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Rampant strawberries, plus some shoots from our plum tree and a few more raspberries.

But our neighbors have stunning plots, which I find a useful source of inspiration. I think this one’s particularly nice.

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Neighbor’s plot. He even keeps bees!

 

2 thoughts on “Allotment delights*”

  1. So the entire allotment really is not so small!
    I especially love to see the little white daisies in your neighbors plot, they don’t grow here, and while I remember everyone hating them because they keep grass from growing, they were always one of my favorite childhood flowers :).
    One thing this shows is that if you don’t want to plant every piece of the allotment, you can always get a reel mower and have some grass spaces between beds/rows. Grassy walkways one mower width make for easy access when you have a lot of rain and keep you form having to weed walking areas.
    From gardening near Hamburg, one tip for beans: they like warmth and when had my allotment garden up at the coast, they did really well when I got some row cover fabric (might go under different names ?). They grew twice as fast. And they should really really wait until mid May to be planted! Peas should go in much sooner.
    Question: rainbow beets? is that rainbow swiss chard? Where you eat the greens, not the roots?

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    1. No, it’s not that small, about 12×15 metres. The daisies make me happy, too. And so do his tulips!

      My friend’s dad said the same thing about the peas, so we will wait. There’s plenty to do in the meantime.

      Rainbow beets are these: http://www.thompson-morgan.com/vegetables/vegetable-seeds/beetroot-and-chard-seeds/beetroot-rainbow-beet/tt38788TM

      We do have rainbow Swiss chard to plant, too. I figured if we were growing it ourselves we might as well go for something fun. 🙂

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