Monday, 15 April 2013

A sunny morning at the allotment.

After the longest, coldest winter I can remember, Spring is finally ... springing! And its on days like this that I head down to my allotment. I have barely been there since October, a fact that fills me with shame. Still, when I put it to bed all those months ago it was neat and tidy.

Yesterday I spent three hours down there, digging and planting, writing my diary in the sunshine and planning the year ahead. It was absolute bliss!!

For those of you who don't know I took on my allotment three years ago in August. Allotments date back from possibly as long as a thousand years ago . When I applied to the local council it was, to be honest, on a bit of a whim, but when I saw the plot they were offering me I fell in love. In my head I had a picture of exactly how I wanted it to look, but to begin with I was the only person able to imagine it .. because this is how it actually looked!!

The plot was filled with nettles, couch grass and a hidden mass of rubbish.

In all we dug out mattresses, trollies and the frame of a green house as well as carpet, wire and  masses of plastic.
Yesterday the allotment looked much better!! We are still not finished with it as we need to finish putting gravel on all the paths, pavings in places and I want to add a small water feature/ pond so I can encourage frogs, insects and so on. The following photo was taken from about the same position as the first photo. You can see it looks a bit different!!

Six raised beds with a seventh raised bed for runner beans at the back and then  two large beds where you can see the
yellow cloches.

I sat in the sunshine drinking a nice cup of tea having planted my summer cabbages under net cloches. The bench you can see was made for me by the lovely Len - a wonderful 80 year old who has taken me under his wing and helps me with everything from digging to advice on plants.

My beds are ready and waiting for seeds, seedlings and plants. This year I am going to be growing:

  • rhubarb
  • chives
  • sage
  • onions
  • garlic
  • potatoes
  • runner beans
  • French beans
  • pointed cabbages
  • lettuce
  • beetroot
  • spring onions
  • courgettes
  • marrow
  • purple sprouting broccoli
  • cucumber
  • cut flowers
  • lavender
  • raspberries
  • redcurrants
  • blackcurrants
  • gooseberries
  • strawberries
  • sweet corn
It looks like a lot, doesn't it? I am learning more and more as each week goes by and it amazes me when things actually grow!! There is something so very relaxing about planning, digging, planting and harvesting. My idea of heaven is spending time on a sunny morning at the allotment with just the breeze in the trees and the occasional bee or butterfly for company!! Hopefully soon my beds will be bursting with healthy plants ... we'll see!!


Inkling said...

So fun! I still don't know where I'll do my huge veggie garden since our community garden is closed, but it has been fun cleaning out the little raised beds we have in our back yard. There is very little sunshine, so we'll see how much actually grows. Right now, one bed has been turned into a shade flower bed, but it primarily seems to welcome moss.

A neighbor across the street on a large acreage can't do her lawn work anymore. So I'm trying my hand at getting her flower beds in order. It's a huge task, but it will be a good learning experience. The neighbor right next to her came out and offered to hire me too, even though I told her I'm a complete beginner. They have raised beds in their backyard, and even room for chickens. It might be fun to see if they'd exchange my gardening for some space.

It's seasons like these that I wish the Atlantic Ocean really was just a pond, and that we could just hop in a little dingy and visit each other's gardens. I am so looking forward to seeing pictures and hearing you describe life in your allotment this year!

joy said...

I'll be watching your allotment with interest, I've just finished digging out a couple of temporary raised beds in my new garden (moved April last year) and my list of things to grow is almost as long as yours!
Lets hope we have a bit more sunshine this year.
Joy xx

Jo said...

The allotment looks great! The plans for this year look wonderful, can't wait to see future news.

I came across you through the OU article which I loved and have enjoyed reading your blogs ever since.

Looking forward to future installments.

Inkling said...

Quick question after looking at your list again.....I just recently discovered marrow in the international produce section of our grocery. It looked just like a different variety of zucchini (courgettes). Do you know what the difference is? Are the plants similar?

Also, do you know if it's okay to harvest all ribs of rhubarb by the end of the growing season, or do you need to leave a few on so the leaves can do the photosynthesis process? In other words, can I cut the plant down to the soil, or should I let a bit die off naturally in the winter? Last year I planted a bare root rhubarb and it barely sprouted by summer's end. This year it is already showing promise, and I think there may just be enough for a pie when it's had more time to grow.

sarah at secret housewife said...

Hello Joy, Jo and Inkling! Thank you so much for commenting!!
Good luck with your garden Joy!
And Inkling I agree completely! I wish we could sit and have a cup of tea in the sunshine together!!
Jo I'm so glad that you found and enjoy my blog!Were you/ are you studying with the OU? Do you have a blog??

Now Inkling ... re your questions!

Yes a marrow is like a big courgette. The way I cook mine is to peel them, remove the seeds from the core, chop into quite big chunks and then put in a covered casserole with lots of butter and black pepper for about an hour.It comes out sweet, buttery and soft and I love it!!
As for the rhubarb you need to be very careful!!
First ... don't cut the stems. Always twist them off and always leave a few stems to continue growing. You would probably be better only to use 2 or 3 stems this year if its a new plant, or maybe just let it grow and get strong for a year.Its a good idea to google How to grow rhubarb as I'm def not an expert!! This is a link to a short film on "how to":

Hope that helps!! Good luck! Sarah xxx

Urban Cynic said...

That is a VERY long list of things you'll be growing! And I think you may want to reconsider your comment about Spring finally being here - well it hasn't sprung here anyway! (looks out of window to grey wet day)