Perpetual spinach

I like getting to the time of year where you’ve written a shopping list and suddenly think “O but wait, I have that already on the allotment!”

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In this case just the radish, garlic chives and perpetual spinach, but I can invest the money I saved in more gardening stuff or gin, you know, something sensible. I’ve always found the name perpetual spinach quite amusing, possibly because I’d only ever really heard the word perpetual used in a religious context before, so it’s chuckleworthy to see it applied to spinach, but that’s just how my mind works, clearly. Incidentally I didn’t know until recently that it’s the same thing as Swiss chard. You learn something new every day, etc.

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I’d been worried about my little sweet potato friends because some of them looked slightly nibbled upon. But most of them have developed an extra little leaf, which has been fairly quick to grow, and long may this continue. If things develop as they should, each plant will continue growing like a vine, and I’ll be digging into Northumbrian-grown sweet potatoes in late autumn.

The two obelisk areas are continuing to develop really well, with the lettuce and red onions looking generally healthy and the peas continuing to grow. The climbing beans are looking less happy and quite yellow, so I’m keeping an eye on them and making sure they’re properly watered. These obelisk areas might be the most tricky to maintain in terms of weeding; there are four obelisks in each area, two with sweet peas and two with either climbing beans or peas. If things go to plan, it should all look nice in the summer.

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The strawberry patch is one of the more neglected areas of the allotment, I have to admit – only real reason being that I believe my strawberry plants are able to withstand the weeds. In an ideal world, I’d extend the strawberry patch because they’re my favourite fruit and I could eat tonnes of them, but it’s not really possible at the moment because there’s a pile of abandoned logs in the way. It’s one thing I’ll add to the ‘Things to do over winter, maybe’ list. At the moment, the priorities are weeding and watering, over and over again, many times each week.

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Still though, it’s kind of taking shape and doesn’t feel out of control yet (I’m just not going to think about the summer holiday, during which I’ll be separated from the allotment for 10 days. It’s fine. It’s only plants. No need for it to be a source of considerable stress). I like looking at these before and after pictures whenever I feel like a hopeless gardener. It might not be the neatest allotment there is, but I’m glad I’ve persevered with it!

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