Roots

I’ve been banishing myself to the allotment quite a bit recently to try and clear my head after the political turmoil in the UK at the moment. Obviously this blog’s about growing potatoes and the like, not about my political opinions, and I’ve been making good use of the many other channels I have to express exactly why I think we’re better off in the EU, but as somebody who’s never believed it possible to feel proud of something as abstract as your nationality, I’d never considered that logically, I’d be able to feel ashamed of it. And yet here I am, over week after the referendum results came in, wondering whether staying in the UK is the best option for me.

I’ve said I don’t believe in patriotism, but I think you can really love individual places that you’ve visited, and obviously I love my little (!) allotment and even derive some pride from that, since I helped things to grow there. It’d break my heart to have to leave it. I know people do leave their allotments and maybe get new ones, but when you’ve spent so long working on one, people don’t always understand the attachment you can have to a piece of land. After I’d been working on mine for maybe three months, I was offered a different plot, one with a shed and paved paths and raised beds and everything, and I stubbornly refused because I’d already grown attached to my huge pile of nettles that I refer to as ‘my allotment’. This might not be proof of my sanity.

I’ve been making more use of the greenhouse I cleverly and elegantly constructed. I have some very late aubergines, some less late aubergines, a couple of pumpkins and some tomatoes all happily gathered there. So far, it’s not collapsed since I added tent pegs, and we’ve had quite windy weather. Fingers crossed.

I grew about eight healthy pumpkin plants in the greenhouse by accident – I just had some seeds I needed to use up and that was what seemed to survive best. So I’ve split them up to have two in the greenhouse, three outside and three outside but under cover (not in the sense of being spies, obviously. Pumpkins make awful spies). The outside ones were looking dangerously wilty yesterday but as of today, they’ve picked up a bit. I’ve also added extra support for the Lord Leicester peas on one of the eight obelisks (top right picture), because they’ve been going mad lately.

I’ve been less than impressed by the wildflowers this year, but maybe they’re just a bit delayed – there’s still time. Last year they didn’t bloom until mid-July, but lasted until November, so it might be that I’m not used to the Northumbrian climate. Broad beans and potatoes are looking promising, though.

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Pictured here we can see the big wildflower patch to the left (the plan is that next year, it’ll be potatoes) and the covered pumpkin patch to the right (cover is only temporary, obviously, as I’m hoping the pumpkins will expand like they’re supposed to).

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And finally something to celebrate; I was impatient and took a few potatoes from the ground early (not that stupid given the amount I’m growing, actually – best to stagger my harvesting). These are both Anya and Mayan Gold.Tasted pretty delicious, I was pleased. My plan for next year’s allotment, depending slightly on whether I’ve emigrated, will involve fewer potatoes because I think I really grow too many, but still, they’re my favourite thing to grow and I love them and I eat a LOT.

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