Thursday, 20 October 2016

A year of firsts at the allotment

Now we are nearing the end of October it brings us to 12 full months as allotmenteers. In our first year a lot has happened including taking on one plot and then swapping it for another four months later. So I thought I would take time to look back on our year.
Last November we took on an end plot with lots of weeds, a nice stone wall and two dirty former chicken sheds. We cleared the plots, planted fruit trees and put dormant rhubarb crowns and raspberry canes in. All looked good for the following winter months.
Within a couple of weeks we were shown another vacant plot. We liked the look of it and contacted the council voicing our interest in it. Since we heard nothing more we started to plan our spring planting on our own plot with the help of our daughter.
While we were starting off our plants at home in March we got a letter from the council asking if we wanted the other plot now. Of course we did as it had a proper storage shed and a shelter going through to a greenhouse. It also had more weeds for us to clear...
We were soon up and running and before we knew it picking our first crops. I was delighted that our crop of homegrown broad beans were so successful.

As the summer went on it was time for the soft fruit. I've been trying to grow blackcurrants and redcurrants at home for years but now I was inundated with fruit! There was only thing for it and that was to make jelly!
From what was above ground we dug in to see how well our below ground crops had done. Our two varieties of potatoes had done well and some weeks later we're still eating our Pink Fir Apple potatoes.
Glut, glut, glut! Of all the produce we have grown this year the biggest glut we have had is from the runner beans. We've eaten them yourselves, given them away to anyone we can persuade to take them and made chutney.
We started off our 12th month with a shock discovery. The Christmas potatoes that were looking strong and healthy a couple of days previously had suddenly developed some sort of disease. With potatoes the obvious candidate is blight. Since it is an airborne disease the only thing we could do was dig them all up. We couldn't put them on the compost because of the blight so they have gone in the burner – this is why allotment holders have to have fires!
After the devastation of our potato crop we have ended the year on a bright note – our first leeks! We're particularly proud of these leeks as we grew them from seed. We started them off in some troughs and boxes we already had. At one point we thought they were never going to germinate but we've nursed them through the weedy grass stage before transplanting them in the ground.
What a pleasure it has been to sow, grow and eat our own food this year. It's not only been our year of firsts. Over at Ketchup the Homeserve team have been celebrating their first year of blogging. In the last year they've helped people save money, deal with domestic problems and reach out to local communities throughout the country. Happy Birthday all round!

This is a collaborative post.

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