Allotment Adventures: Slow

I think I probably say every year that the allotment is behind but this year (mid July and I’m still waiting on the courgettes!) it’s really true.

Half of the beetroot bed, all sown at the same time, are refusing to grow. (I think that the rhubarb next to that bed is sucking up all the moisture. We had winter squash in that bed last year and the squash at that end were slower too. Next year we’re putting the gooseberry bushes in that bed so no more worry about why nothing wants to grow in that bed!). We’ve had mange tout and broad beans and a few raspberries and blueberries and some salad and potatoes. This week we took home rhubarb (not from my plot), a few blueberries, 5 beetroot, carrot tops (for pesto), salad and two plums.

We are waiting on, courgette, crooknecks, cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes, french beans, sweet potatoes, autumn raspberries and winter squash (which has started it’s growth spurt, Ma wondered if I needed to feed it as it seems to be trying to take over the whole plot!). There is a lot of squash in here, I know that we have uchiki kuri and butternut squash in there but I also sowed and then lost track of some possible crown prince, two types of pumpkin, the last couple of candy roaster and burgess buttercup seeds. So who knows what we’ll get!

I was so determined to do better for autumn/winter, I think I was too relaxed about summer crops but in for autumn are kale, leeks, cauliflowers and we sowed chard last week. To be sown are pak choi, florence fennel, cabbage and some late salads. I want to get another flush of coriander, dill and maybe parsley in before autumn.  I might also sow turnips, black radish and swede for winter too. There are three-ish beds empty right now so I have some space and we’ll probably have 6 or seven beds in use through the winter. We’ll get what we get.

While I may have taken my eye off the food producing ball, I’m really pleased with some of the other areas of the plot.

The herb bed has been here since my very first spring, but it looks so much better with the flower bed next to it. It seems to give it structure. Yes, I need to cut the sage back before it eats the dianthus in the corner. I’m so thankful to a colleague at work for gifting me so much of this bed, he’s responsible for the giant snowdrops earlier in the year, the crocosmia and the sisyrinchium that are flowering right now. The bearded irises are hanging on but not doing much. The two dianthus were bought cheap in the plant sale last year and the year before, there is a bronze fennel at the back that I got from Nina’s old plot and it’s still alive so that’s good, finally I put in the remaining flowers that survived being burnt alive in the cloche in May (I think shasta daisy and alyssum).

My other favourite new area is the pond and rose garden. It’ll take time to mature, I did not sow the red mountain spinach also known as red orache (Atriplex hortensis var. rubra), it seeded on the plot last year and we assumed it was a type of aramanth and let it go where it wanted to. Although I might grow it for eating next year, this one is crowding out my lavender! There is aramanth growing by the pond in front of the knautia macedonica. In amongst the roses there is another lavender and an oregano, the verbena was moved from the front of the plot and I have also bought and planted a lemon thyme, two campanulas and an eryngium planum and a centaurea montana or perennial cornflower and a white borage on the other side of the pond. 

It will need to establish and fill out, but it was a bare patch of soil and weeds last March, so I’m pretty happy. The roses I moved in winter but the pond area was a great lockdown project. I need to sort out covering the edge of the pond too but that’s a job for later!

Lastly the ‘wild’ area on the old plot, given how well things are growing there I feel it’s proof that my choice to woodchip the paths is good for the soil as well as for making the the plot look tidy, well in the winter, right now it’s a glorious mess and I’m really pleased with it, although I’d like the rudbeckia to start flowering, I’m beginning to think that it’s intimidated by the borage and the verbena!


About nicdempsey

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