April 2021: spring refused to be sprung

I started then neglected this blog last year now I want to try again with the new season. I thought I would still give you what insights I recorded from last year. Last spring was predictably (it is the UK after all), unpredictable. We had a mini-heatwave, and then the weather persistently refused to emulate the epic levels of last year (2020). It seemed to be cold and windy a lot of the time and I expected to find my twigs and seedlings frozen each time I went to the plot.

How the plot looked in April

It was with trepidation that I climbed the hill to the allotment each time but then joy when I found that most of what I had planted was still intact and the view was great as ever.

The fruit bushes or Twigs, as this is what they look like at the time, were still there and looked like they had even grown a little. I hadn’t yet done much reading on their care regime but I didn’t expect fruit the first year. This is my investment in the future of the allotment.

Cold, dark and moody

The plants that I ordered online still hadn’t arrived so I popped over to the conveniently situated garden centre – it’s just across the road from the allotment entrance, handy eh? I bought a few brassicas to plant – one of my treasured memories of my mum was the first time she grew cabbages in our garden. I remember the day when we harvested the first one. Sitting in our garden, she chopped off a huge cabbage and cut into it, slicing it up and giving us pieces of the raw vegetable. We sat there chomping on these bits of cabbage and it was the best thing I had ever tasted – even better than the strawberries we had grown before. This memory is why I’m so determined to grow brassicas.

I also took a leap and selected an aubergine as well. I saw some of these mini growing tunnels and thought I’d try some plants with protection.

My growing map

My planting was still a little random and ad hoc but it’s a learning process. I have tried to approach this in a way that I describe as “positively pessimistic”. I know that this may all come to nothing, I’m prepared for disappointment but also ready to be pleasantly surprised.

Here’s how I left it, still neat and tidy.

Now of course the waiting begins and we will see what I’m rewarded with.

How do you feel when planting, full of hope or cautiously optimistic?

Anticipating everything and anything.

It’s an allotment-let

As of March, I’m an allotmenteer. My very good friends acquired a plot last year at the beginning of lockdown and they have offered me a share of it. I said yes instantly. It was a bit late in the year to get started last year so I didn’t get off the ground straight away but my mates offered again this winter and I decided to go for it.

I have a small patch (hence Allotment-let) I must measure it – which is fine as I want to take it slow and easy. I have to admit that my ulterior motive for doing this was:

a) to get me out of the house, I haven’t needed to ‘shield’ so to speak but not having a reason to go out and not always enjoying it when I did go out meant I needed a strategy to get my Vitamin D.

b) to give me a chance to see my friends occasionally, albeit at a distance.

I’m being very coddled here, my friends have done a lot of the initial preparation – they have dug over the soil and laid manure on the plot so I just have to decide what to plant.

Starting at the beginning of the year seemed logical to me. So I started researching and trying to make a plan for what to do with this ‘Land’!

It’s still a little bit ad hoc though. I did the youtube/blog/social media deep dive and got a bit overwhelmed so rolled back and thought about what I want to grow. I ordered some fruit bushes and some brassica. The fruit arrived first so I planted three blueberries, a blackberry, a cranberry and a goji berry out of curiosity.

So here is my first planting, fingers crossed I am now an allotmenteer.

Let’s see how it grows.