I’ve had a great time on the allotment this week – really got stuck in and enjoyed myself. Both Louis and I were off all week due to half term holidays so we’ve been free to visit whenever we fancied – weather permitting.
Bank holiday Monday was sunny and dry (major improvement on the bank holidays I remember as a kid which always seemed to be cold and wet) My sister and her 2 boys were visiting from up north. We don’t see them very often because they live quite a long way up north so it was lovely to spend some time with them. My sister was keen to see the allotment. The boys, being teenagers, weren’t quite as keen but with the promise of trampolining the next day they were happy to humour their auntie and mum! My older nephew helped me earth up and water the potatoes, the younger one was happy to dig. Unfortunately, the spot he chose to dig was right next to Rhubi which was absolutely not going to happen so I directed him to the empty, half dug bed where he wouldn’t damage any of my plants (when did I become someone who doesn’t want people damaging her plants? This is all very new to me!)
All 3 boys ended up on the half dug, empty bed. Not one had the faintest idea of what they were doing (pretty much like me to be fair) but, between them they managed to dig up a fair amount of bindweed. They then watered the whole plot for me – they can visit again! It was so lovely to see all 3 of them working together.
On Tuesday, Louis went off with his cousins to the promised trampolining which left me free to meet Dan and go through his planting plan. It started raining just as I reached the gate but us gardeners are made of strong stuff so we soldiered on through the rain.
We moved all the plants we’d bought on Saturday out of Dan’s garden and into my shed. Poor Richard having to share a shed with me. His ‘half’ of the shed is dwindling by the day with all the gardening ‘essentials’ I keep buying. We also laid the planks of wood on Dan’s plot as per his plan – well, he laid the planks, I held the piece of paper with the plan on it. This did not feel like a fair distribution of labour! Just as we’d finished laying the planks we heard the first rumble of thunder – hardy gardeners we may be but I have no desire to be out in the open during a thunder storm so I made a hasty retreat.
On Wednesday I didn’t make it to the plot unti about 3pm. I spent some time digging over a bit more of my plot and then Dan and I planted the baby and fiesta sweetcorn. This time I did the work and Dan told me how to do it (I think he was making up for my holding the piece of paper ‘work’ the day before) It really does feel good to get some plants in the ground – even if it isn’t my ground!
On Friday, Louis and I walked down to the allotment and stayed for a couple of hours over lunchtime. Michelle was there when we arrived – Michelle tends to be an early morning gardener while I tend to take a bit longer to get organised in the morning. Due to this we often miss each other so it was nice to see her. I was actually really grateful she was there because she helped me plant the spring onions and leeks on Dan’s plot which I was quite nervous about doing. Dan is really relaxed about me using his plot but I am very aware it’s not my plot and I really don’t want to get it wrong.
On Saturday I helped my friend run a stall at an open garden event. The garden was a local charity’s and it was huge. It had a ridiculous amount of beds and polytunnels all full of plants. My friend had told me there would be plants for sale but I think my exact words were “I won’t be buying any, I don’t need any more”
I’ll give you all a minute to stop laughing…
For those of you still wondering – of course I bought plants! I picked up 2 winter squashes, kale, coriander, sage and a flower which I don’t remember the name of but it looked pretty.
Today I was on the plot by 9am. Jane, Gino and Michelle were all already there (I told you Michelle is an early riser)
Earlier in the week I’d taken the compost bin my friend had given me, down to the site but I’d just sort of dumped it as I didn’t really know where to put it. Michelle helped me choose a good spot for it and I levelled off the ground under it.
Michelle had bought some parsnip plugs – she had some left over after she’d planted what she wanted and she offered them to me. The parsnip seeds I’d planted a few weeks ago have done precisely nothing so I spent some time this morning weeding the bed they were in and digging in some chicken poo ready for the parsnip plugs.
The bed I’ve been weeding was nearly ready – I just had to rake it to level it all out and it was ready for planting. I’ve put the 2 winter squashes and the kale in this new bed. Really pleased these are in and super happy to support a local charity.
After I’d put my plants in I moved onto Dan’s plot. Still a bit concerned about using someone else’s plot but I felt a bit more confident today. I planted carrots, chard and salad leaves. I wasn’t sure if I planted them correctly but Dan said they looked ok. Dan also gave me a really good planting tip. He advised me to pour a bit of water onto the plug as soon as it goes in the ground to try and minimise the shock to the plant. I’m going to try this next time I plant.
I know you’re all desperate to hear how Rhubi’s doing. She is going from strength to strength. 3 large leaves and 2 more coming through. Without sounding too cocky – I think we may have cracked this! These 2 photos are about a week apart.
The potatoes seem to have been eaten by something but they’re still doing pretty well. 4 of the 5 plants have reached the top of the pot. Again, these 2 photos are about a week apart.
The courgettes are doing really well, as is the sunflower and I have the start of some gladioli!
Louis’ peppers are doing surprisingly well. We now have 8 plants potted up. If I’m honest I wasn’t entirely sure what I was going to do with them. I only bought them because Louis chose them and I wanted to encourage him to take an interest so I’m super shocked that they’ve grown and seem to be thriving. They’re now on the plot next to Rhubi under a propogator kindly lent to me by Dan who tells me they should do ok (as long as I remember to water them!)
We have the start of apples on the apple tree. I am so looking forward to making cakes and crumbles with apples from my own tree.
Holidays are over (for about 5 weeks!) and back to normal on Monday. We won’t be as free to visit the plot but hopefully we can continue the good work we’ve started this week.