Making paths

I’ve had a busy month or so. One fairly big thing going on in my life now is that I decided to work as a freelance translator from April onwards. I’ve been joking that I’m actually retiring to spend more time with the allotment, although that is not STRICTLY true. I’m 26, and apparently society frowns on a retirement at such an early age, and also I’ve somehow not managed to quite get the finances together to fund a retirement at this stage. So I’ve decided to work instead. I think it’ll actually mean less time with the allotment, at least for the first few months, which is a bit sad. I’m anticipating having to work really hard to get established. But then, I’ll be able to choose my hours, so maybe if I start work earlier, I can have a long break in the middle of the day, digging merrily. I’m a bit apprehensive about the whole thing, but positive overall. Apprepositive.

I’ve started chitting potatoes:

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I didn’t get to a Potato Day in the end, to my slight disappointment. It would have been expensive to go all the way to Durham or Edinburgh just for potatoes, I suppose. I got these from DT Brown seeds, and as I’d planned in my last post, got the following:

Pink Fir Apple: (first from left). I’ve read these are excellent salad potatoes. They look hilariously knobbly. The flavour’s meant to be really good.

Ratte: (middle picture, towards the top of the photo) These are supposed to have an interesting nutty flavour.

Cara: (middle picture, towards the bottom) I’ve chosen these as my ‘go-to’ potatoes. They’re meant to be especially good for baking, and I think they’ve got reasonably good blight resistance.

Shetland Black: (to the right) Couldn’t resist giving these a go. After I wasn’t able to grow goth raspberries this year, I thought at least I could grow goth potatoes. I’ve heard mixed things about the flavour – some people have written that they found it really floury, but I’m interested to find out what they’re like. I could have purple mash!

One other thing I’ve started to do is mark off ‘paths’:

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I mean, they look a bit daft because they’re just made of scrap wood and/or stones I’ve found, but at least from a psychological point of view, it’s helpful to mark off which bits I can walk all over and which bits I need to try and keep weed-free. The eagle-eyed among you will have spied a yellow fork in the top picture, but no corresponding fork in the bottom one. The two pictures were taken a week apart. I noticed the fork was missing today. Why did I leave it lying around, especially after the rake theft, you might reasonably ask? Well, it’s so bent that it’s more or less totally useless as a fork, so I use it to hold onto for balance as I’m walking along the path next to it. Slightly better than throwing it away, I suppose. Anyway, the thieves obviously realised it was useless too, as I found it dumped several feet away from the allotment. I can laugh about it, because it’s such a ridiculous thing to steal, but I’m a bit disturbed by the idea of people walking around the allotment when I’m not there. I don’t really have anything worth stealing, but I put so much work into this little patch of land that when people come along and try to mess it up, I feel quite protective. I’m thinking of investing in barbed wire, once I can afford it. I’m having to limit spending money (in general, but more specifically on plants) at the moment, which makes me quite grateful I bought most of my seeds last year when they were on sale.

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Started to prepare a couple of beds, although they don’t look quite prepared enough to be called beds – maybe ‘patches of root-ridden earth’ would cover it. The left-hand patch will contain parsnips, all being well. The right-hand one will contain oca. I’m hoping I’ve left enough room there. Although I don’t have that many tubers, so it should be fine. I’m a bit scared of them. You’re supposed to start them off in pots in mid-April, and I’m wondering if I could get away with starting them off in the potato grow-bags, which are currently sat doing nothing outside my front door. You then plant them out in mid-May and harvest in November/December. I’m very curious to find out what they actually taste like.

A couple of very busy months still to come – both on the allotment, and off! I’ll take one thing at a time.

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