After a short hiatus from the blog I’m back and ready to talk about the fun we’ve been having down at the allotment!
It hasn’t all been plain sailing to be honest, we have had our ups and our downs but considering this is our first year growing our own I’ve been very pleased with the results. We had a bit of trouble with carrots (supposedly one of the easiest crops to grow!), first we thought we planted them too deep and then too shallow, then we blamed the seed packet and then decided there wasn’t enough rain. Speaking of rain, this summer has been a bit of a rollercoaster in the UK – first a scorching heatwave which threatened to toast all the seedlings then, having listened to our prayers of rain, the heavens opened and it didn’t stop raining for a couple of weeks! It seems to have balanced out now but to be honest a lot of the crops have been all the happier for it…
This is a great year for fruit it seems. Our carefully de-bind-weeded raspberries have been giving us a steady crop since the end of June and we had punnets full of gooseberries (I made my first ever batch of jam!), blackcurrants, strawberries and now plums and blackberries. Our freezer is full. I eat a fruit smoothie every day of the week and have not had to buy any fruit for 2 months which is saving a lot of money and plastic.
Another success was in our potatoes, both in a pot and in the ground. So easy to grow and super satisfying to pull up, it is clear why potatoes are such a staple in our diets. They can even be grown from shop-bought potato, just put it in a cool dark place, wait for it to chit and set in the ground (or a deep tub).
We’ve befriended our allotment neighbours who have kindly donated to our cause: we had 2 rows of leeks from one side which are growing up big and strong ready for an autumn/winter harvest and, from the other side, a lovely squash which, although it looks a bit sickly, has got several flower heads on it.
The allotment is an almost endless plastic-free win, particularly with leafy greens; lettuce and spinach are rarely found in British supermarkets without the obligatory plastic bag but down the allotment we can pick as we need. We’re letting some of our spinach go to seed now so that we can plant some fresh without having to buy more seeds. We’ve also collected seeds from last year’s purple-sprouting broccoli which will go in the ground soon to over winter. It is important to maintain the cycle of letting a few plants go to seed as this, in turn, reduces the amount of waste created.
A new addition to our allotment has been an incinerator I got off Ebay for £3.99! We have a bit of a weed problem with bind weed and nettles so to avoid the dreaded weedkiller I am planning on burning it. The ash can then go back onto the ground as a fertiliser.
Now I’m off to de-stone and freeze some plums, we had so many the tree was sagging with the weight but now I’ve got to find a few uses for them!