I’ve decided to move my blog posts about the allotment from my Moving to the Country blog, to my personal one. I’ve written a lot about cooking here and it seems appropriate that I blog about my food growing here too. To catch up with the story so far, read We’ve been Alloted.
Lesson 1: Discovering the therapeutic benefits of digging
The ground was so hard. Remember that rotavator we had to take back because it was broken? I think maybe we broke it trying to break into this insanely hard soil. I learnt after the rain finally came months later that the soil can be nice and easy to put a fork into, but I didn’t have the luxury of waiting, as I had seedlings to get in the ground, so I would do this crazy dance balancing on top of the fork until it sunk into the ground (and then another to lever the rock-like earth out of position). Then I’d bash it a bit with the fork and leave it for a few days to get softened by, failing rain, a little bit of exposure to sun and wind.
See those ‘rocks’ of earth? They told me to plant out into “finely raked soil” on the back of the seed packet. Well that didn’t happen, I tell ya.
Lesson 2: Patience
Digging was taking such a long time, and I was impatient to get things into the ground. But work was pretty stressful at the time and I found that after couple hours on the allotment digging work felt like a distant memory. So I learnt to have patience.
First 2 rows dug. Potatoes went in there.
Lesson 3: Start those seedlings early!
Growing brassicas at home on the window sill. These were actually my 2nd round of seedlings. The first round included chard (swiss and rainbow), peas, beans, radish and spinach. Potatoes and beetroot were sown direct in the ground.
Lesson 4: Pause for the sunset (and hurry home!)
Sunset. One of the rewarding things about my evenings on the allotment is watching the sunset over the field. I just have to pop through the trees to the next field to see this view. And this was at 9:30pm. Of course I should be heading home by this time but there was always something else to do – or I simply hadn’t got down there early enough. There’s been a couple times this summer I’ve been planting out seedlings using my night vision!