Writing ‘a cheery allotment blog’, I’m sometimes guilty of painting a rather rosy picture of growing your own veg.
It is not always oodles of onions and bundles of beetroot – especially this season.
Not Keeping on Top of Things
I wouldn’t go as far as saying I’ve lost heart recently, but I’ve definitely not been keeping on top of things as I have in previous years. Maybe it is the end of summer blues, or that I’ve fallen back in love with riding my bike, but I’ve not been putting the effort in over the past few weeks.
I haven’t watered every other day as I did last summer, and I reckon this is one of the reasons my winter crops are struggling. I hadn’t planted onions, garlic, or winter manures either, despite my good intentions.
This and the prospect of living on parsnips and perpetual spinach through winter had been getting me down. I needed an injection of allotment energy, and in times of trouble, I only ever do one thing: turn to the women in my life.
Calling in the Troops
So Saturday saw me call the troops in. Mum and Ailsa came down to the plot to lend a helping hand.
The saying goes that more hands make light work, and we positively flew through the chores. It is amazing what you can get done in a few hours. With mum and Ailsa’s help, we ripped out the tomato, squash, and courgette plants, and dug over the bed; dug over the potato bed, and pulled up all my French beans.
We also finally got my onions, garlic, and green manure in, as well as weeding around the remaining winter veg and treating them to a good watering.
A Change in Mood
By now, the sun was out and it was a beautiful day. The plot had gone from untidy and dying, to something that was already gearing up for next year. Like a new coat of paint, freshly dug beds make such a difference and really spruce the place up.
No longer was I down in the dumps. I was thinking of ordering seeds and writing planting plans. Just what the allotment doctor ordered. The cycle will be starting all over again before I know it.
And Maybe Some Leeks After All!
To top it all off, I popped to the local farmers market on Sunday morning with one of my crown prince squashes. My friend Sarah, who runs an organic farm in nearby Tillingham, is going to swap me some veg for squash, so I might get to tuck into some leeks after all.
If only the temperature would drop low enough to get rid of the pesky whitefly, then my allotment turnaround might well be complete…