To the allotment this morning, with a couple of crates to bring the onions home (much better in my opinion than a certain world cup). The brassicas are doing well, though each of the four ‘Golden Acre’ cabbages I planted had grown very tall (supposed to harvest between June and October) and the edges of the outer leaves appeared to have been nibbled – but by what? Too even for slugs and snails, and rabbits can’t get in (unless a couple of them lift the cage up while another slips in to feast. Perhaps they take turns). It didn’t stop me harvesting one! I also appear to have several tomato plants growing here. Not planted by me! Either someone spilt seed (unlikely) or there were tomato seeds in the food waste I buried to enrich the soil. I will leave them to see what happens.
The Community Garden held their AGM on Saturday 12 June. I fully intended to go, but at the last minute something came up and I missed it. Hopefully someone has made a note of what was discussed and with circulate them. But we got there two days later, when the weather was much cooler with a few spots of rain, though not enough.
With some – finally – sunny, warm and dry weather, and a couple of medical appointments looming, Thursday 27 May was ideal for a quick visit to the allotment. The best news is, that with a car boot full of things for the allotment, we can now drive down our lovely new access road, which saved hauling everything by hand.
The onions are growing well, and I sowed some carrot seeds in that gap (and the same the other end).
Park in the Past is taking advantage of lockdown to carry out some landscaping work. You can see the difference between these two photos, the left-hand image taken by me in early September 2020, the right-hand image taken by Sarah S, on 27th February.
As I understand it, the plan is that a 3 metre soil bank will be formed along this boundary in the next few weeks, which will shield the allotments from public view, create our own micro-climate, and is where our community orchard will be planted.
I’m pleased to see all my cages are still in place (I knew they couldn’t possibly blow away), but I wish I’d asked Sarah to take a snap of my onions; I’ll have to assume they are still there as I can’t tell from this angle. We are still allowed on site to tend to our vegetable, but apparently the whole area where we park, and access our own footpath, is a sea of mud and riddled with potholes. But I’ve sown some seeds in the greenhouse so I’ll be ready to go as soon as it’s feasible.
28 MarchPlanting the Community Orchard
Imagine mud so thick that it clings to your boots and doubles the size – and weight – of your feet. Mud so wet that if you stand still for more than a few seconds you literally cannot lift a foot out of the hole it’s made.
Imagine that it takes you one hour to dig a hole 18 inches square and 10 inches deep and all the time the rain is lashing down and you’re sinking deeper and deeper into the mud.
Imagine soil with so many stones in it that a spade will only go in an inch or so at a time and you can’t get enough purchase to use either of your feet to push the spade further. Imagine scrabbling on hands and knees to pick out flints. (That’s me, near the back of Picture 4, looking as though I’m about to head-butt a tree stake)
This time last year, I was full of plans for my new allotment bed. I’d filled it, weeded it, and sowed a green manure crop of red clover, which looked amazing – apparently. I never saw it ‘in real life’ as Welsh lockdown rules meant no driving to take exercise, and plans had to be scrapped. I didn’t go back until late summer.
Fingers crossed things will be better for 2021 and these delayed plans will come to fruition.
If we could have forseen what was ahead;
scried our fortune in a dark-mirrored pool,
read auras; sought enlightenment,
or divined the future from the way tiny
bleached-white bones of long-dead creatures
tossed and tumbled onto an old brass tabletop.
Would we have believed it?
How could we?
With travel restricted due to coronavirus, I am currently unable to visit the allotment. This has meant a re-think on how to manage the seeds, onion sets, and potatoes I had already started in readiness. But also means planning for veg that can be sown later in the year. Non-essential items ordered online may not be delivered for several weeks as companies concentrate on essential items while keeping their own staff safe.
For now, therefore, The Allotment Diaries are suspended.
A visit at the beginning of the month gave me a chance to see how the red clover I sowed in the middle of last month was progressing. While growth is patchy, at least it is growing. I quickly hammered in my sign explaining that this was a green manure crop, as I don’t want anyone ‘helping’ by weeding my patch.