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Archive for March, 2009

OK, the United Nations might not approve of child labour but when your five year old nephew announces that he wants to come and help on the allotment and that he has his own small spade, what can you do but accept and offer him his own piece of land to play with?  I have one last piece of no 16 to scut and turn over, so I will open it up into a series of boy-sized square beds and declare it his.

His Papa has come back from Belgium clutching packets of heritage seeds which give odd-shaped fruit and mad looking knobbly veg, and we are having a tell over them next week to see what to plant.  I am not sure what Reg will make of this continental imports.  He gave me a very dusty look when I said I wouldn’t be planting sprouts on no. 16.

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Garlic and shallots late, onion sets on time and early potatoes went in today.  You might have to squint to see ’em, but there are little white labels stuck in the ground with the crops and date of planting written indelibly on.  The soil is lovely compared to the heavy, compacted yak I first scutted off almost a year ago.  Not perfect, but the compost trenching., manure mulch and frost has done good things.  Thanks to all who have advised I stick with improving the soil.  Now we wait to see what grows.

sevenrows1

It doesn’t look much but that’s seven rows of seeds, sets, bulbs, seed potatoes and cloves in there.  Caulis waiting to go in.

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must work and not look outside at the sun.

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bringonWe are off.  This ground has been cleared, compost trenched, manured, left to do its thang* over winter, turned, hoed and tilthed, and today planted.  Right to left: early leeks, spinach, beetroot and carrots.  The only reason there aren’t onions making five rows of veggy goodness is that I forget them but they are in tomorrow.   Alf (my new allotmenting maven – he gives advice and help, unlike Reg) stood by and nodded at my planting and my labelling of said rows.  He is dropping off a dozen cauliflower seedlings to add to the plantathon

The atmosphere on the allotments is just ace right now.  Whatever time of the day you go, people are there.  Beds are being turned, things planted, garlic and onions being willed to grow.  There is a feeling abroad that those who rent allotments and are doing nothing with them on these lengthening, sunny days are somehow letting the side down.

There are a couple of families with young kids and the kids have their own patches, some growing flowers, some with fast-growing salads in to give them quick results.  They garden for a while, then go and mess around on the nearby playpark.  It’s fine: we’re in a cul de sac, no traffic and in this village even young kids walk the streets safely.

And my idea of a couple of allotment barbecues this year? Has gone down a storm.

*Yes, thang.  Which is ‘thing’, but with more funk.

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not a patch on this lady.  Head on over The Compost Bin.

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of purple sprouting broccoli during morning tilthing (hoeing the soil down into a fine tilth) makes you burp later in the day.

Just a warning should you be invited to a Buckingham Palace Garden Party (as I once was.  I politely declined, being a republican) or anywhere else when wholesome broccoli burps may be considered social death.

Today’s seed raid: sweetcorn, early leeks and FREE early broccoli.  Now I need some onion bulbs….

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Calves in Germany spontaneously bleeding to death.

Wave of the spade to Cryptogon.

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