The Allotment Diary: winter slackers

The indecisive winter weather so far this year has seen slow progress at the allotment.

Due to the frozen ground and wet weather we’ve had some enforced Sunday lie-ins (oh, the horror!) but as there is not much pressing work to be done right now we can enjoy this slower time – it certainly won’t last, as soon as the ground warms up the weeds will be racing off and we’ll be struggling to keep up with it all.

That’s not to say that we haven’t done any work. For starters, our apple tree that had been so overgrown when we took on the allotment was given a winter prune, and combined with the earlier removal of the brambles suffocating it hopefully we’ll get a good apple harvest this year, now that light and air will be able to get to the fruit. Check out our apple tree before and after – hubba hubba!

 

We’ve also been busily edging our borders, and Mike was hard at work putting up some bean canes so we can look forward to another bumper crop of runner beans this year. We even included an installation art piece as a typically Folkestonian health and safety feature, thanks to a neon yellow plastic plant pot we have stuck on the end. Hopefully this will be enough to stop Cantiaci members impaling themselves.

Some new rhubarb crowns have also gone into the ground, and a couple of established rhubarb plantsĀ have started to poke their way through the matted grass. We cleared the grass from them and found a bottomless bucket to hopefully force the stems of the smaller so we can have some early rhubarb. Rhubarb was one of our key crops last year, the plant we had inherited on our other plot produced massive bundles of rhubarb right through to September so we’re hoping for similar success again.

Meanwhile at our other allotment site we continue to harvest leeks – although some are not growing as fast as others (why is that?!) and our onions don’t seem to have grown underground at all, despite their flourishing green tops – all fur coat and no knickers.

Naturally, all this hard work is always rewarded with a steaming cup of tea, often as we cower out of the wind and drizzle in our (rather small) shed, dreaming of spring harvests and mild weather (and not thinking about those weeds… or the slugs… or that chemical toilet we still haven’t had the courage to open and dispose of…!)

Frankly it sometimes feels like being at the allotment is just an excuse to enjoy a good cuppa and have a natter…

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