Mid-week dig

There’s so much that needs to be done on the allotment that I’m going to try and put in a few hours during the week, at least while it’s still light in the evenings. I went down yesterday to plant garlic.

It took longer than I expected to get just one of the raised beds properly ready. I’d dug them over at the weekend but really preparing them took a good while, although I bought a cultivator recently, which has done the job pretty well. Hopefully I’ll have ample garlic come May, although my main reason for planting it is to deter pests.

I had a bit of a dig round what will hopefully be the fruit patch, towards the far end (will also serve to mark off the border between my allotment and the next one along). I thought it was going to be pretty tough to dig up there, but soon after I started, I discovered there were wooden slats quite far along, which had been hidden by the weeds. Pulled them up, and not only was the soil good – it contained more potatoes!

Like the other batch, I’m not entirely sure how they got there if it’s true the plot hasn’t been used for 15-20 years. It’s possible the plot was used in part, but slightly neglected overall. I dug out a bagful anyway, just before it started going dark, and I’m having them for my tea now.

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I know I’m biased, but they are delicious. I’ve had a lot of potatoes in my time, and these are up there with the very best. I’m thinking of putting some of the rest in a pie with leek over the weekend.

I headed over to the allotment this evening, too, as I’ve started the process of moving some of the balcony plants over. I plan for most of them to stay, but some of the fruit bushes – the thornless blackberry in particular – would just be far happier on an allotment. I was just thinking today that I’d cleared a nice amount of space on my overcrowded balcony, but then, of course, I went to Homebase on my lunchbreak, and reappeared in the office with a tayberry bush.

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I’m a bit fascinated by loganberries and tayberries and suchlike. Because they’re not widely grown commercially, I’ve not really had them before, so I’m interested to know what they taste like. I also made friends with my allotment neighbour, who’s busy preparing a place for his chickens to live, and bumped into another allotmenteer I met at the weekend, who gave me a tour of his own, extremely impressive allotment, and this:

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They’re such friendly people. I know you don’t really expect people who spend all day among raspberry canes to be awful, mean people, but there’s just such a willingness on their part to help me out, both in terms of advice and in practical things like lending me stuff.

The plan for the weekend’s work is to plant the little colony of container plants I’ve got waiting on the allotment, and then just to DIG as much of the right-hand side as I can without falling into a heap. I may go blackberry picking in the general area if I can still walk afterwards, as I’ve decided that I burn enough calories gardening to justify the odd bit of blackberry pie.

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