The Allotment (481 days to go)

by Max Akroyd

So almost at the end of the garden tour and back to the beginning: the Allotment. My experience with allotments wasn’t always happy but they pointed me (away) in the right direction… so I’ve decided to rename the furthest flung area of our garden the Allotment.

It used to be called the Orchard. But then fruit trees I bought seemed to fit better in and amongst the other areas. Once the pigs clear the Rough, I’ll plant more fruit trees there and Kervéguen will have an Orchard, but that will be way too late for my year of self-sufficiency.

Appropriately enough, the Allotment is the size and shape of a typical, large allotment. It’s also quite a long way from the house, once you’ve walked the length of the field to get to it, so there’s another simlilarity. Strange things can happen there when you’re out of sight: last year mice ate my whole sweetcorn crop without me noticing, yesterday a dozen molehills appeared while my back was turned. It’s an area with a life of its own which I need to rein it in, thus: 

My allotment plan

Each bed is 22 metres wide so there’s more than enough space for the courgette varieties I grow but maybe not enough for peas… we’ll see, which is what this year is all about for me. ‘Winter brassicas’ refers to any cabbage, caulflower or kale which can be squeezed in right at the end of the growing season.

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Rain and wind stayed away long enough today to allow me to to turn over another broad bean bed. With half term approaching, I’m building up a stockpile of garden jobs for 8’s and unders and planting broad beans is a popular one. Onions sets, garlic cloves and potato planting will also qualify and keep us all gainfully employed over the holiday.

It didn’t matter that the weather turned bad as there was a plethora of jobs awaiting me in the greenhouse: things to pot on, things to thin out, things to come off the propagator and things to go on. In the final category was a large sowing of the solanums with tomates, peppers and chillies taking centre stage. It’s far too early for outdoor tomatoes but anything else which will spend its life in the polytunnel, in the greenhouse or in a container might as well get under way now. I plan to turn the greenhouse into a chilli emporium this year. They neatly make use of this space after June when it becomes too hot in the greenhouse for propagation purposes.