Bears Spuds are coming up!
I can’t lie. There are some days when this allotment malarchy seems like black magic. Other allotmenteers tending their weed free plots of sieved earth. I’m not jealous, just in awe.
I stood in my plot deciding which bit to weed first when a tall man with cap and a beard came and said hello. This, although I didn’t know until later was Bear. And Bear turned out to be a very useful man to know.
Bear asked about my plot, we chatted about travel and countries to visit. The sun was shining, I was leaning on my fork. Allotmenting didn’t seem too hard.
Bear also asked if I had my potatoes in. I didn’t. Potatoes growing seem tricky; neat mounds of earth and then piling up when leaves show. I thought it might be a crop to tackle in season two.
Before I knew it, Bear had commendeered my fork and I was scurrying around gathering up a rake and a length of string for a make shift line and we were preparing a small plot for potatoes.
After digging a trench, we went to Bears polytunnel for potatoes.
The small potatoes were spaced about a foot apart and the earth liked on top into a long, neat mound with a pointed summit.
I marked them up ‘Bears Spuds’.
After the mix of glorious sunshine shine and rain over the last couple of weeks the allotment is lush and green. My onions are coming on a treat. But the weeds are blossoming too. So much so, that I have had an email from the allotment secretary gently asking how I am and whether I’d be sorting the weeds out sometime soon. It’s a never ending battle. If I could eat weeds as well as the veg I’d be a prize winning allotment owner.
The cucumber seedlings that i nurtured from seed and then planted outside have become a snack for the pigeons despite my best efforts to protect them. Happily, the seedlings in the polytunnel are going from strength to strength.
The garlic and tomatoes in the polytunnel are also doing well.
Outside, the French beans are coming on. I cheated with these as bought from a garden centre rather than grew from seed. Husband said how much he liked French beans (news to me!) so I have obliged.
The plants I am really looking forward to getting in the ground are the peppers. My lean to is packed with pots of jalapenos, capsicum, orientals. All from seed, all in vast quantity. While this is my first allotment season, I grew chillies in the garden last year and I know how they work. I’m enjoying the familiarity and I’m happy to have grown them from seed. I’ve grown more in case I can trade plants with other allotmenteers.
The mystery veg is coming on a treat and is the mystery cabbage (I think it’s cabbage).
Bear (great big bearded truck driver from plot 80 something) helped me get some new potatoes in. I’ve named them Bears Spuds. The spud rows look like I know what I’m doing.
So today. After I have walked the hound and been out for a maiden voyage in my canoe this morning the allotment beckons. My small haven of weeds, mystery and happiness.
Have I just taken the final steps into old lady-hood? I enjoy knitting and embrace an early night. Now I am so excited to have an allotment. Surely, I only have to acquire a taste for sherry. I could time-hop from 42 years old to 62 in the time it takes for a blue rinse to set.
I’ve lived in my house for over 16 years and I didn’t know that this secret allotment existed 600 paces from my front door. Over one hundred plots hidden behind a converted warehouse.
After the application had been submitted, I was lucky enough to be given guardianship within a week.
My husband and I spent 5 annual leave days digging over the plot, rotovated in some well rotted horse manure and erected a poly tunnel. Hard work done, the business of growing can begin.
Digging time is thinking time. Many people must have tended this ground before me. Perhaps a family depended on the plot for veggies during the war. I am committed to the allotment, my life doesn’t depend on it. I won’t be the last person to dig the ground so felt acutely aware of my place; I don’t own the allotment but am it’s guardian while it’s in my care. This patch of ground, will eventually be nurtured by someone else. I feel lucky to have it.
Being obvious newbies, other allotment-eers were keen to give advice, lend books, comment on how much work we would need to do. Advice was contradictory, but encouragement was unanimous.
In the first few days we were brought gifts of fresh veg from fellow allotmenteers. I don’t turn down food (genetic problem!) but two people can only make a small dent in a carrier bag of runner beans.
So, this 120 square meter patch of ground has become part of my life while I’m not riding my Triumph. I hope to grow enough veggies to make up the majority of our diet; good for our diet and saving money. The allotment will be a connection between our food and the earth; good for the soul.
Fresh air, hard work and an appreciation that food is anything but fast.