Welcome to our plot!

I'm Hazel, and in Nov 2006 my friend Jane and I took on a half plot at Hill Allotments, Sutton Coldfield - we want the satisfaction of growing and eating our own fruit and veg, and to improve our diet (and fitness!).

This is the story of what happened next...........

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Fruits of our Labour!

A day of sunshine and heavy showers – real April weather with blustery winds too, & more rain forecast – but it saves on the watering, I guess!

I spent a smashing few hours at the Hill today – I even managed to avoid most (but certainly not all!) of the showers – Reg-next-plot was there, along with a number of other plotholders up & down the site.

I wanted to sow the seeds that we bought last week at Malvern, but first the inevitable weeding. Today’s ‘live and learn’ lesson is that it really is a pain having the onions so close together – the tops also flop everywhere (so do everyone else’s – I did check) so you can’t get the hoe in, and chickweed is maddening stuff to try to get out wholesale rather than just breaking the tops off.

I’m now less worried about fitting everything in (except pumpkins, of which more later) because I realise that as we’re eating up the short rows, it does create more space for the next lot.

As I was weeding, Hayden-club-secretary pulled up and was very complimentary about the size of the parsnips – nice man, knows how to encourage the newbies! Reg-next-plot said that the secret was apparently to have no patience and sow them far too early. That’ll be me then – although it does seem to have worked out pretty well.

Hayden also said that if we wanted to enter the ‘heaviest pumpkin’ and the ‘tallest sunflower’ competitions, the young plants were 50p each & to help myself from the polytunnel. Well of course we want to have a bash at those! So I chose the sturdiest plants and will plant them out in due course. Reg-next-plot isn’t taking part – he’s no room for the pumpkin – so I’m hoping he’ll give us some sure-fire tips!

Of course, growing merrily at home are two more pumpkin plants (as I didn’t know about the competition at the time) and I know there will definitely be no room for all, so I’m going to have to find a good home for my two!

Once the weeding was done to my reasonable satisfaction (my motto: ‘well, it’s better than it was’), I set about some sowing & put a short row of FRENCH BEANS (sungold), LETTUCE (mixed), RADISH (white icicle), CARROT (early nantes), PARSNIP (gladiator f1), SPRING ONION (white lisbon) and CARROT (multi colour mix). Also I sowed 32 seeds of BEANS (black turtle) which are grown like French beans, but the pods mature on the plants and you shell the beans when they are dry (thank you, Wellie!)

Another innovation (thank you AGAIN, Wellie) was putting coloured balls on all the canes which have a practical you-wont-poke-your-eye-out quality as well as looking utterly FAB! They drew many complimentary comments, and made my fellow plotholders smile!

Finally, I pulled some RHUBARB which is now part of a rhubarb sponge cooking in the oven as we speak. Also I picked RADISH (Mirabeau) & LETTUCE (mixed) which are in a salad for tea along with some very small CARROTS (Adelaide) & POTATOES (rocket). I also picked some of the outer SPINACH (hector f1) leaves which will be for tomorrow’s dinner.

It’s taken six months, but – boy – is all that hard work paying off!

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