I think if we all had one word to describe January, it would be ‘wet’.
I’ve never seen standing water at the allotments until now. I couldn’t believe how heavy the normally crumbly soil was until the Met Office announced that this was indeed the wettest January on record.
However, I felt a great sense of smugness knowing I’d sorted my kitchen garden raised beds early, and the layers of leaf mould and seaweed were protecting the soil from downpours. On the other hand, I worried about being behind as the weather had prevented me from getting to my new allotment.
I know I’m not made of cardboard, but I’m getting too old for waterproofs and rainy days. It reminds me too much of hopeless fishing trips.
Keeping Busy When The Weather Was Rubbish
I did find some jobs to do when the weather was rubbish though (that was most of the time). I did a lot of seed catalogue browsing and cleared out the greenhouse. That was a nice job, given that the greenhouse hit nearly 30 degrees whilst I was in there. Yes, the sun did come out one day!
In fact, the weather might have been sodden, but it’s been mild too. I can still comfortably count on one hand the number of frosts we’ve had in this little corner of England.
And despite my aversion to the rain, I have made some progress on the plot. I now have the makings of a fruit garden, with blackberry, loganberry, raspberry, gooseberry, and rhubarb plants safely planted out (main pic, above).
The wet weather has actually helped me in some ways. All the big horrible weeds have pulled up easily, and I can now see most of the new space I have.
After a great hour planting out rhubarb yesterday, I feel much better. We’re now clearing space as we need it, which is an approach I’m really happy with. Not obsessing about getting the whole plot spick and span immediately takes the pressure off considerably. Next in over, there are potatoes, which gives me a good few weeks to make room.
Seaweed as Manure
The torrential rain coupled with high tides provided me with another weather assisted bonus a few weekends back, by pushing seaweed right up onto the seawall. I collected 4 big bagfuls in just 20 odd minutes, and I didn’t even have to get my boots muddy. This went straight on the raised beds.
I finally sorted out my seed orders too, after much catalogue deliberation. New varieties to try this year include beefsteak tomato Marmande and some dwarfier peas for the garden. I’m also attempting the beautiful Turk’s Turban squash, which has been a longstanding ambition.
A packet of Uchiki Kuri squash seeds is winging their way here as well, after plenty of recommendations in response to my 5 Great Squashes to Try post.
And I harvested purple sprouting broccoli. Beautiful, purple florets of January joy. Although not strictly speaking mine, as they were planted by the previous plotholder, they still did the job of getting me excited about the better times to come.