This month marks the first anniversary of allotment23.com and 1 year ago that I signed the tenancy agreement for my plot. The year has passed very quickly and much has changed too. After being issued with redundancy notification in May of last year, I took on this allotment because I felt the time was right to take early retirement (not that many companies would come knocking on my door at the ripe old age of 62). I needed something constructive to do. Although my final day didn’t arrive until 5th November, I was able to spend a lot of spare time up there between June and judgement day mostly digging out the weeds!
Sadly, our Association’s Chairperson died at the beginning of the year. His close friend and Association Treasurer, decided to retire from the position. In April, an annual meeting of the Association was called (all very Covid friendly) and we elected new officers. I offered my services for the role of Treasurer and was duly elected (keeps me out of mischief). I am now the keeper of the money that we raise to buy stock for our little shop. We have a range of goods such as peat free compost, processed horse manure and other types of fertilisers. Also, we hire out a range of mechanised garden machinery and manual tools. A £2 annual subscription to the Association gives you space in our large greenhouse. This is extremely useful for people who don’t have the luxury of one at home or, if they do have one, it’s just too small. Most of the holders belong to the Association so the greenhouse is very well used.
Just my luck, the first year I have an allotment and the start of the 2021 growing season is one of the most challenging I can ever remember. The coldest and driest April since 1996, a chilly May that culminated in some very unseasonable high winds and a lot of rain. On the 25th May a storm rolled in off the Atlantic (where else). Wind speeds reached up to 60 mph and my allotment neighbour had his shed lifted-up and thrown onto its back. Unfortunately, the owner was away, so myself and two helpers tried to lift it back. It was too heavy for us as there was a lot of stuff in it and no matter how hard we tried, we couldn’t shift it. It just goes to show how strong those winds were!
Now the summer weather has finally arrived things are moving fast. My broad beans look like triffids and come complete with blackfly. However, at long last there are quite a few beans on them. We have eaten some of the young ones by cooking them in their pods and eating whole. They are very tasty and it’s not a bad way of eating them if, like me, you’re impatient to try. As for the blackfly, I am trying a bee and ladybird friendly spray from the Royal Horticultural Society and initial trials look quite encouraging. The beauty of this stuff (apart from not killing all the good insect guys that insecticides do) is that you don’t have to wait a few days after spraying before you harvest.
The Garlic still isn’t ready yet but all the seedlings that were grown in the house and greenhouse are now planted out in the ground. I am particularly pleased with my beetroot. If you remember I was a little concerned because the general wisdom from experts is that they should be sowed directly into the ground or in bio-degradable pots because you must not disturb the roots. I didn’t do either of that as I sowed them in plastic pots. This meant that I did disturb the roots when transplanting. I was very careful, though, and they didn’t seem to mind too much. I think they were a little more forgiving than the experts gave them credit for (I know the joke of the definition of an expert).
That’s it for this month, I hope June is a little more weather friendly for us all, certainly an improvement on the last two. I am very definitely looking forward to harvesting the first of my potatoes very soon. If the tops are anything to go by, they should be good.
Enjoy the sun!