I had a stroke of luck after the Great Rake Theft of 2014. During a trip to Wilkos, I discovered the selfsame kinds of rake reduced down to 50p each, from the already reasonable price of £5! So I’ve replaced what I lost and have managed to store it in the plastic box (with much of the handle sticking out of a hole, but at least it’s secure). I was quite happy with my progress yesterday:
You can see on the left where the fava beans have started to appear (and winter tares to the right).
Strangely – and it feels most odd saying this – I’ve nearly run out of places to dig. There are strips to the far left and right of the allotment that I’m planning on leaving more or less undug (I’m thinking if I get a shed, it’d make no sense to dig over that area, really), and many of the dug bits need going over again, but aside from that – well, people used to walk past the allotment and humorously offer me the use of their diggers. I grew sick of the phrase ‘You’ve got your work cut out’ because I heard it so many times. But today, someone went past and noted ‘Aye, you’re getting there!’ It’s not the neatest-looking allotment, but at least I can call it an allotment rather than ‘troublesome piece of land I’ve foolishly become responsible for’.
Today I’m being plagued by my wisdom tooth, and although I put in a couple of hours, I became increasingly aware of my need to take painkillers and other medication:
I used the extra time to put together a seed inventory. It took longer than I expected because of my habit of just buying discounted seeds and working out exactly what I’ll do with them later:
I concluded that I have a LOT of flower seeds. Which isn’t a bad state of affairs really. I’m quite fond of the idea of having multiple wildflower patches on the allotment. I’ve got a smallish patch at the moment with borage, burnet and snapdragons, but because wildflowers are awesome, I could have them going up all along the path, even. I’m going to have marigolds along the raised beds, I think. Maybe the occasional sunflower.
Herb-wise I’ve not got as much as I’d thought, and I have the more obscure varieties, like wormwood and rue, that would perhaps present me as someone looking to rival a certain local Poison Garden. I’d quite like some more normal varieties to plant in my herb wheel. The chives are still fine but the hyssop, after thriving on my balcony for a couple of months, is beginning to look unhappy. I got some garlic chives from the nice lady on Freecycle who gave me the strawberry plants, and I’ve really enjoyed putting them in salads, so I’d like a few more of them. I think I’m picking them faster than they’ll grow, at the moment.
And in terms of vegetables, I’ve got a bit less than I thought, but in a confusing, ‘I don’t know if I should buy more’ kind of way. I’ve got carrots and parsnips, and a lot of radishes, but no cauliflowers or onions or lettuce. I’ve changed my original allotment plans an infinite number of times but might change them again. If we refer to my first picture – I plan to use the ‘fava bean area’, aka the left-hand strip of the picture, for maincrop potatoes (ideally heritage varieties, possibly Pink Fir, maybe Shetland Black although I’ve heard the taste isn’t great). Then there’s the right-hand strip between the path and the raised beds, and I was thinking I could leave a space near the fire area, but beyond that, grow squashes or cauliflowers – things that need a bit more space than the raised beds – and then rotate that with the potato area, although I know you’re meant to allow potato patches to lie fallow for more than a year. Although I understand there’s debate on that matter. And then beyond the potato patch – roughly level with the high-security storage system aka plastic box – I was thinking I’ve got enough space for a decent raspberry patch.
All plans subject to change, of course. I suppose ‘ending up with more space than you’d planned for’ is an example of a GOOD allotment problem to have.