It’s been a few months since my last allotment update and a lot has happened on our little corner of the planet. We’ve had successes and losses and a fair few I have no idea what I’m doingses, but most of all we’ve learned a lot about our plot.
We’ve come to realise that taking on an undeveloped allotment is a bit of a hit and miss affair. The previous plot holder had only been able to work a small portion of the very large plot and most of what had been planted had died by the time we took over. This meant that there was very little evidence of anything that might have been successfully grown on the plot, save for a few turnips the size of golf balls and a handful of rotten potatoes. We were quite literally dealing with terra incognita.
After looking around at the other plots and chatting to a couple of the other allomenteers we came away with a fair idea of what was likely to be successful, i.e. the usual suspects of courgettes, onions, carrots, potatoes and apparently the ground is great for sweetcorn.
Speaking of courgettes we planted three each of two varieties, one of which produces round fruits. In hindsight six courgette plants is about five too many! The round variety grew to mammoth proportions and we’ve been harvesting some that are bigger than my head! Half of them ended up in the compost bin as we couldn’t cope, so this week I pulled those three plants up and we’re left with three of the normal cylindrical sort of courgettes. Alongside the courgettes we had Elephant Garlic which I’ve just harvested as it’s beginning to show signs of rust.
The net covered bed at the back of the above photo is the Brassica bed. When this photo was taken the cover was a complex assortment of build-a-balls, bamboo canes, pegs, string and electrical tape (the blasted balls kept falling down the canes!) and the day after we built it the whole thing fell to pieces. I then read this post by Carie at Space for the Butterflies and had a lightbulb moment. Now our Brassica bed is safely covered with a nice and sturdy netted frame – so thank you Carie, if you’re reading this!
We’ve had some casualties though thanks to an army of enormous slugs who ate an entire patch of cabbages overnight. Tonight I’m heading down there with a bucket and a tub of slug pellets to wage war on the little sods! And sadly we’ve lost five out of our six cauliflowers as they’d blown (the heads pouffed out and turned woody due to loose soil structure). Hubs is pretty pleased with that as he hates cauliflowers.
It’s not all doom and gloom though as this month saw our first harvests! We’ve had regular pickings of strawberries, peas, carrots, potatoes, courgettes, runner beans and broad beans. We’ve had the joyous experience of eating our first dinner where every bit of veg was home-grown. It all tasted a million times better than shop bought veg.
Last weekend we had a very special visitor to the allotment. Mr Biggins the preschool bear came to help us plant some runner beans.
The best thing about having an allotment is that Bubs has been involved every step of the way. She’s weeded, sown seeds and planted out seedlings, helped with the watering and is a champion potato harvester. She can explain in great detail how compost is made and can identify lots of different fruit and veggies at various stages of growth. She’s a little marvel!