Rain had been forecast for today, so I thought the planned trip to the allotment might have to be postponed. However, there were largely clear skies and sunshine, which bode well for an afternoon out.
In the event, I was really pleased we made it up there (it’s about ten miles north of where we live), first and foremost because of the people we met. At the end of the day, a major motivation for me in most things I do is to meet people, even if it is just on the level of seeing a familiar face and passing a few casual comments. So, I was very pleased when one of the women a few plots down from me called out hello.
Unfortunately, while she knew my name I couldn’t remember hers. On the other hand, she gave me some useful information regarding when the plots will be inspected and the ensuing conversations about if tenants would like to keep or give up their plots. Overall, I get the feeling I could be doing a lot worse with mine…. It might feel a bit of an uphill struggle to get on top of the weeds but I doubt I will come across as disinterested or overwhelmed. Besides, it seems that it is not a case of someone coming in with a heavy hand and simply turfing anyone off their plot. But it seems that a new person adds their name to the waiting list every week, so it is important to make sure they are not left waiting in vain for a plot they could be doing something with, while a plot is otherwise neglected.
I also met another of my next door neighbours, who also happens to have a young daughter. She seems quite chatty and has been around a while, so could fill me in with information about such things as the pigeons, which love purple sprouting broccoli.
I must say that, apart from covering the plants in the summer to guard against cabbage white butterflies, I have never had to take any especial care of the purple sprouting broccoli in the back garden. But after this current crop I think I will have to divert my growing up to the allotment, as there will be nowhere new for me to put the plants at home. Thus, it looks like I will have to find a way of putting secure netting round my next crop.
The pigeons also seem to have been enjoying pulling out another woman’s garlic. She told me she hadn’t planted the cloves under the soil, as I have done, as she has heard that the latter method can lead to rotting. Again, I have never experienced this problem before, but the soil at the allotment does seem to drain a lot better than my own. So, I am hopeful this is a precaution I don’t need to take.
On the other hand, one down side of the allotment I have already noticed is that crops are more open to the elements. While my garden may lose some sunlight because of the surrounding fences, they do at the same time afford protection from the frost and wind. Of the two photos below showing my broad beans, can you spot the difference in the health of the plants? (By the way, I did replace three of the worst affected at the allotment today.)
That doesn’t mean that the wind hasn’t cause any upset at home. This morning I noticed that the compost heap was lidless. This is not the first such occurence but usually I find the lid somewhere. Not today, though.
Well, in all honesty, the lid was a nuisance. So now I have a plastic bag over the compost, held down with what I hope is a heavy enough stone. This might only be an interim measure until I can find a better solution, but we will see.
© Helen Butt, February 2014