Saturday, 31 July 2010

Photo diary: last seven days at the allotment

Nenya and I had a really productive day last Saturday.

I dug two new beds this week. Just have to figure out what the hell to plant in them now!

The broccoli is coming on a treat.

As are the beetroots - I've got my first baby beetroots from the thinnings and reckon they'll make a lovely salad, grated with olive oil and lemon juice.

I think I'm doing something wrong with the lettuce transplanting. Perhaps the secret is to water them before taking them out of the ground as well as after putting them back in?

This Saturday's haul. Not bad for a chaotic first season, I think. We're now self sufficient for potatoes and lettuce, and check the size of that marrow! (it looks much bigger in real life)

The allotment is a former refuse tip and we're forever finding broken bits of pottery, glass jars, clay pipes and so on. It's pretty nice to find some undamaged examples like these, which I dug up last Saturday.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Four months in...

I forgot to take my camera to the allotment today, but realised I hadn't uploaded these photos from a month ago. When they were taken, the allotment was just starting to come together. We'd made good progress, done loads of fencing, digging and planting, and everything was just starting to bloom and grow. It was very exciting.

Looking at them now, I can see how much it's changed over the past month. From looking nice and neat and fresh, the allotment is now looking a lot more... lived in. The dock and nettles have gotten out of control in parts of the garden, the strawberries are over run with weeds, the massive amount of lettuce we've planted is bolting out of control and parts of the garden we carefully prepared previously are now an impenetrable jungle. We're still digging new beds and can't spend the time we need to maintain what we've already planted. And do you know what...?

I love it!

I said to myself from the beginning that the first year would be a serious learning experience. We had a tonne of work to do and we were bound to make mistakes. None of us had managed an allotment or garden on this scale before and I for one am a real novice. As far as I was concerned, anything edible we managed to get out of the garden was going to be a bonus. According to that measure, we've done staggeringly well.

We might not be able to walk on the path up the middle of the garden because of the rampant potato plant leaves taking it over, but that's okay, because I now have all the gorgeous tasting, beautifully scrumptious potatoes I can possibly eat. Today I picked a courgette the size of my forearm (or at least the size of a six year old child's forearm, but still pretty damned big). When I thinned out the carrots the most incredibly sweet carroty smell was released (from tiny carrots less than half the size of a match stick!) and you just don't get that from super market vegetables. I picked my first baby beetroots today and I've been having home grown sugar snap peas, broad beans and broccoli for breakfast the past few days.

There are definitely things we didn't get right this season and we're nowhere near as productive as we could be, but neither are we too far from being self sufficient for vegetables this month. Next year is going to be amazing!

Friday, 16 July 2010

A gardening comedian - inspired idea

The theidiotgardener made me laugh today. The post starts with:

"I went to a local horticultural event, and realised that I've had more fun allowing my Mexican dentist to rip out my bloody teeth! Now, I accept that for some people, gardening is a competitive sport. I also accept that for a few, it's a high brow past-time to be shared with vicars and dried-up husks of old ladies. However, for the rest of us imbeciles, it's a bloody hobby, something to do between life's drunken escapades and our inevitable deaths.

Thinking about it, when gardening events occur, there's not much in the way of "kick off your shoes and have a beer" entertainment. There's a lot of judging, much pontification, and a generous serving of pomposity, and the general public (that's us lot) turn up, pay the entrance fee, and generally mingle with a mixture of ignorance and expectation. So, what's wrong with also chucking in a bit of light entertainment? What's wrong with a few laughs? Why don't we have ... a gardening comedian?"

and gets a little out of hand further down. Enjoy!