I had big plans for this week. I had the week to myself as Louis was off on a canal boat holiday. He had a great time, took part in lots of great activities and, as an added bonus didn’t fall in the canal (something his grandma cannot claim!) I collected him Saturday morning and he looked genuinely pleased to see me (or maybe it was the Sainsburys fried breakfast?)
Having the week to myself I had big expectations of being on the plot every day (one of the other canal holiday mums was off to Morocco – I chose the allotment!) Of course, this didn’t happen. Due to other commitments, the weather and pure bloody laziness on occassion I didn’t spend as much time working on the plot as I’d hoped. However, I tried to make the most of the time I did spend down there and I think I made an impressive amount of progress (well, I was impressed, you can judge for yourself).
As ever, I’m going to be as upfront with you as I can be and let you know straight away that this week’s blog is going to mostly talk about digging. In my humble opinion digging is, possibly even more boring to write about than weeding but it’s what I’ve spent most of the last week doing so unless I start making things up that’s what you’re getting.
There’s a real sense on the allotment of the growing season coming to an end. Michelle even told me we’re having an early autumn (and by early she meant now!) I’ve certainly harvested a lot of veg and there doesn’t seem to be too much left growing (not on my plot anyway). This feeling has certainly motivated me to start looking to next year and to start preparing the plot for all the vegetables I want to grow – hence the concerted effort to really get on with the digging.
As ever with my plot, as I dug I found lots of bricks and rubble. This week I also found a shoe. I may not have mentioned shoes before on the blog but perhaps I should have because they are definitely a ‘thing’ on my plot. When I first took on the plot I had a real issue with shoes. They seemed to be all over the place – not just randomly scattered around the plot but stored in the shed and, like this week, buried in the soil. I’ve just checked back to Week 2 and, lo and behold there’s a shoe in the wheelbarrow. I have absolutely no idea why there would be so many shoes on an allotment (at least 6 or 7 individual shoes and all the same style.) I have one pair of gardening shoes (2 if you count my crocs) and this may sound a bit controversial to some of you but I tend to wear them, not leave them in the shed and I certainly can’t imagine I will ever get to a point where I think burying my shoes is the best move.
Anyway, moving on from shoes. As I say, lots of digging this week so more rubbish for the tip. Dan has suggested we order some skip bags which will, of course be way more convenient than taking the bags of rubbish to the tip but could involve a level of organisation that may simply be beyond me.
The best day this week was Wednesday. Our friends, N. and L. offered me some miniature fruit trees they no longer wanted (2 apple and a pear). I arranged to meet N. on Wednesday morning at the plot. I’d been to Morrisons first thing and bought 3 large buckets/pots and, between us we moved the trees from the old pots to my new ones. They look good and, I’m hoping, now I have another pear tree the current tree will actually produce more than one pear next year!
I popped home for a break at lunchtime but was straight back on it after I’d finished. I spent the rest of the afternoon, you guessed it, digging! I made really good progress – inching my way closer to the extension with each fork.
I wasn’t sure where to put the newly planted trees. The obvious place seemed to be along the fence, next to the compost bin. I don’t think I want to keep them there permanently – I want to be able to reach the blackberries behind them, but they’re fine where they are for the time being. I cleared the area as much as I could and carried the trees over.
I’d arranged to meet Dan on site on Thursday morning but it was raining so I headed down in the afternoon after it had brightened up. I hadn’t actually planned on doing much – I just wanted to check over the shared plot with Dan, which we did. I harvested some gorgeous looking aubergines which will be going into a moussaka this week.
Even though I hadn’t planned on doing much work I ended up completely clearing the area next to the compost bin where I’d put the trees. I cut back more of the brambles, raked up the debris on the ground and removed the fence panel that was leaning against the neighbour’s wire fence. The fence panel is now broken up and on the wood pile waiting for the skip bags. I was really pleased with how it looked when I’d finished.
This week marks 6 months since I first took on my little plot. I marked the occassion by posting two photographs on Instagram – one taken when I was first given the plot and the other taken this week. That feels like pretty good progress.
For all you Rhubi followers – here she is in all her glory. She had a little ladybird visitor this week – always happy to see a ladybird hopefully eating all those pesky aphids.
Dan (I think as a joke?) suggested I use the heavy tamper thing as a doorstop for the shed. Being an open minded kind of person I decided to follow his suggestion and the shed now has a doorstop (Really – what else am I going to do with it?) Dan has also suggested (again, I think as a joke) that I paint it.
Peppers are looking amazing. One of the plants has over 10 peppers on it. Louis is going to be so pleased when he sees how well they’ve grown while he was away.
The brussel sprouts seem to be making a, very tentative come back. I check them every time I’m down there and wipe off any eggs from the leaves but I really must go and buy some netting for them.
I actually feel a little bit like a proper gardener this week (steady!) I thinned out the carrots. I know it’s far too late really but it seriously needed doing – they were very over crowded. It was surprisingly easy actually. Lots of the really spindly ones went straight into the compost but some of the bigger ones came home and were turned into carrot and coriander soup along with some of the carrots from the shared plot. The soup was delicious but I totally forgot to take any photos of the carrots or the soup so you’ll just have to imagine.
Here’s what the plot looks like at the moment after a week of digging. I feel like I’ve reached the natural end to the squash/courgette and carrot/parsnip beds so I need to decide where to start digging next. I have a horrible feeling the answer is going to be the extension with all that holds!