My allotment partner, Mrs Hen, and I managed to get a rare couple of hours together at the plot on Sunday, which was great. It had been a while since I'd been able to get down there and not only was I feeling guilty, but I was slightly worried that the entire area may have been over-run by rhubarb (it's a good job I love the stuff - it's positively rampant!) I have actually found the most amazing recipe for rhubarb and vanilla jam, which I'm planning to share with you in my next (and, coincidentally, my hundredth) post. Get your jam pans at the ready gals, it's a winner!
I thought I'd share some photos of what's appearing on our patch with you, to prove that, against all the odds, things are indeed growing:
Comfrey, which is an excellent green manure.
Fennel, which is delicious with fish.
Redcurrants - mmmm, puddings...
And peas (ugh, revolting little balls of green) - the best thing about these is that they are grown up twiggy peasticks. Was there ever a better name for a piece of gardening paraphernalia?
We also have blackcurrants, gooseberries, raspberries and strawberries in the fruit section - and cabbages, broccoli, potatoes, onions, garlic, shallots, beetroot, chard, runner beans and borlotti beans in the veggie section. Obviously we've had to plant some flowers too, so we've got sweetpeas, marigolds, nasturtiums and calendula. If any of this actually makes it on to my plate, I will not only be extremely proud, I will be more than a little amazed. I am a rank amateur when it comes to gardening - my ineptitude is matched only by my enthusiasm (I cling to the thought that Mrs Hen knows what she's doing, or at the very least that she has a book that will tell us what to do). The man who has the plot at the bottom of ours clearly recognises this as he saunters casually up to us every time he sees us and then proceeds to tell us what we've done wrong since he last saw us. He then tells us how we should be doing it and how it won't work unless we follow his advice to the letter. Mrs Hen is cracking, I definitely heard her muttering about the possibility of there being a body under her patio very soon.And then, in an amazing spurt of outdoorsy eagerness, I actually cycled to the allotment today (pause for proud swelling of chest and slight wince at sore bum). My 'to do list' went something like this:
✪ drop off tall canes for beans
✪ water cabbages
✪ dig over bean bed ready for planting
✪ spread wee all over shed floor (note to self: check for holes in plastic bag really thoroughly before relieving oneself in said bag and especially don't open shed door to dump bag of wee on ground while your trousers are still round your knees.) x
PS - to those of you who may be thinking that weeing in your shed is odd and wrong, I ask this question: 'why else would there already have been a latch on the inside of the shed door?' Hey??