Don't get me wrong its hard work, in fact very hard work! But I am hoping that all my efforts will be rewarded with all that produce I'll be able to harvest. I've been growing fruit, vegetables and herbs for years now but I had over grown my small back garden and there is only so many pots you can place on a patio before there is no space for a garden chair!
The allotment is in walking distance from my house, about 1½ miles away, which is great for an evening stroll with Marco, to check on my veggie babies before dark. Weekends just zoom by too, before you know it 5 hours has passed and I haven't even stopped for a bite to eat. Another plus is that all that calorie burning digging means that my winter weight is finally shifting! Yes, every year I pile on the pounds during the winter months. I'm sure deep down I think I'm going to hibernate and therefore tend to eat more! But come summer, when the nights are lighter and I exercise more the weight does come off, but the older I get the harder it is! Ageing is so cruel at times ha ha ha.
My plot is huge! Yes huge! In fact my allotment next door neighbour joked last weekend that I needed to put an advert in the local paper for pickers! I'm hoping that my produce will last me through the winter and I won't have to spend so much on shopping. Is it just me or has anyone else noticed that the price of food has shot up!
So, what am I growing? This season anything I can fit on the plot ! I'm testing out the soil and seeing what grows well so I can plan better next year. Unfortunately I hadn't grown any seedlings before I got the plot so I was a little behind. Besides before I could grow anything my plot needed a lot of work and that included a lot of digging!
My plot is almost in two halves, the front half has been dug over before and last season even had a few potatoes growing apparently. But the back half has not been used for what seems like a lifetime. It is extremely uneven and full of couch grass. Put it this way, when exploring it I fell over a few times as the ground was so uneven, I was lucky not to sprain my ankles! Even Marco doesn't go and explore.
However, the back half has got a little treasure in the form of 2 apple trees, 1 cooker and the other an eating apple, so it will be well worth the effort of clearing the ground, maybe I could turn it into a little orchard?
I also had another gem on my plot, growing at the very front was rhubarb and I seriously can't believe how quickly this stuff grows! On my first day I spotted little pink stems breaking through the soil, you can only just see them in the second photo above, just to the left of Marco's head.
By my second visit only 1 week later they had grown so much, you can see in the photo above, in total I think I counted 12 plants, enough rhubarb to see me through spring I thought! The next week they had grown even more! I've been enjoying roasted rhubarb for breakfast ever since, recipe will be posted soon!
I've never been one to do a lot of digging, as my veggie plots in my back garden were in the form of raised beds, which don't need digging as such. The down side being that some vegetables (like cauliflower) don't like the loose soil. I wasn't quite sure how I would get on with digging, but I actually think it is the BEST exercise in the world! That's me in the picture to the left, it didn't take long to dig the area you see and if you're ever stressed out then digging is for you!
While I'm down the allotment I completely forget about the outside world, I lose myself completely and even though its hard work, I leave feeling re-energised. It must be all that vitamin D I'm getting!
Marco loves it down there too, our weekends now consist of an hours walk over the fields chasing his ball, followed by a cup of tea and slice of toast, which we share. After breakfast I load my hubbies truck with garden equipment, snacks and a big bottle of water for me & one for Marco and then we spend the day down on the allotment. Marco gets spoilt rotten, everyone on the allotment knows him already and they always come down and give him a fuss. He's even be known to get a few treats, and he knows which people have the treats in their pockets!
He can sniff out a carrot or a piece of cucumber for miles! I'll have to teach him how to dig, so he can help plant my vegetables.
If he's not getting fussed from the many friends he has made down there, he's watching the birds flying around or landing on freshly dug soil looking for worms. Otherwise he's just chilling enjoying being in the fresh air.
So far I have 2 rows of potatoes (earlies), 2 rows of onions, 1 row of shallots, 2 rows of carrots (1 purple variety), spring onions, a broad bean patch, a runner bean patch, a strawberry patch and 2 rows of autumn raspberries, blackcurrent and gooseberry bushes, plus the rhubarb and the 2 apple trees!
Since getting the allotment I have been busy sowing seed too and I also plan to grow sweetcorn, French beans, courgettes, pumpkins, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprout, purple sprouting broccoli and calabrese.
In the picture to the right you can see the start of my very first potato trench I dug, exciting times!
So, now you will understand why I have been absent from my blog for a while, but now I'm on top of the digging and planting to date I will be posting some recipes for you soon. The first being a delicious rhubarb recipe of course.
I thought I would leave you with a photo of Marco who is also wiped out after a weekend of walking and being down the allotment. He fell asleep in my arms and his little mouth was open enough to hear a little snore. Every now and again his paw would twitch like he was chasing something in his dreams, bless him.