I’m starting this year on the allotment with exactly the same problem as I had last year – I’m kind of in between countries at the minute because I don’t know about the extent to which our self-serving, morally bankrupt failure of a government is going to further mess up the country I started off in, come March 29th. So once again I’m going for a kind of compromise – I’m growing the basics, but avoiding time-consuming experiments like the asparagus and sweet potatoes of years gone by.
I was going to report on the abject failure of my no-dig latecrop potatoes after I’d had the idea and then didn’t sleep for about a week because I was so excited to try it out. The experiment resulted in 0 potatoes, but like all my failures, it wasn’t absolute. It kept the weeds down beautifully, and once I’d moved the layers of straw away, there was some of the most lovely-looking soil I’d ever seen:
I’m pleased with this because I’ve never managed to grow anything on this part of the allotment before. I’d had potatoes there a few years back but I’d struggled to get it dug over because of millions of roots (including dock leaves). I really want to try no-dig again, it still required roughly the same amount of effort at the start, but I’m happy with the way it turned out after winter, and moving the mulch and everything away was a nice break from digging in the green manure.
At the risk of coming out with the least cool thing I’ve ever said, I discovered a REALLY GOOD potato website. I’m only growing three types this year, and I knew I wanted first earlies, a maincrop and a salad type but wasn’t sure where to start. This website lets you search for what you want AND compare varieties:
I’m going with Pink Fir Apple (which I’ve grown before), plus Vales Sovereign and Accord (both new to me). I really wanted to grow Ratte again, as it’s still my all-time favourite, but I’ve had a word with myself and I know I’d run out of time, space or both.
This display of artistic might is my rough plan for the year, and it’s more or less based on the seeds and plants I already have. I think the globe artichokes have been the main success on the allotment over the last 2-3 years (now I’ve said it, I’ve jinxed it). They’re really easy to maintain, take up a lot of space, and I actually use them, and they’re not something I’d normally eat if I didn’t have an allotment. I’m also trying to minimise the amount of seedlings I have to transplant because I don’t really have anywhere to start them off, and besides, constantly walking from my flat to the allotment bearing seedlings, cultivators and forks is giving me a reputation around town.
Basically the only thing I’ve bought this year in terms of equipment are these half-length boots, and they are a total game-changer in my book. One thing I struggled with when wearing full, adult-sized boots is my failure to remember that I’m in fact a three-quarter length human, and trying to waddle about in them was not helping at all. Now I don’t have to struggle with boots going over my knees and I’m able to actually walk around.
So that’s it, really, for the time being. Plenty of work still to do, and I’m really not sure how much I’ll get done this year, but it feels good to have a plan of some kind. I feel a lot more ‘grounded’ (hahaha, pun very much intended if unlikely to be appreciated, like all my puns) when I’m gardening and I’m glad spring’s on the way.