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...........

Monday, January 27, 2014

Seeds, Potatoes and a Nice Day Out

This winter has not been particularly cold this year (as yet) - just very wet - and now that the evenings are perceptibly lighter, it means that the gardener's thoughts turn to Spring.

Not enough to actually get down to the Hill - the ground is far too wet, and it would be far too miserable, but to think about what I want to sow this year.

It's pretty easy on the seed front - I have so many seed packets that I would never use them all in my entire lifetime (despite never seemingly actually buying any) so it's just a case of what to leave out.

I've made a start by shelling out last year's bean seeds which have been drying on newspaper in the attic room.

Choosing potatoes are slightly different, and in years gone by I have spent many happy hours poring over lists of varieties with their various merits, then trotting off to Ryton to the potato day and seed swap at the end of January.

But this year, Ryton have not held a potato day because, according to a chap who was on one of their courses, they recently got rid of their commercial interests to focus on the education side.  And there's me thinking that the potato day is not only a money-spinner for them in it's own right, but a perfect membership recruitment opportunity and showcase for the entire operation, educational facilitates and all, but I guess I'm wrong.

The nearest alternative potato day was hosted by Nottingham Organic Gardening Society, and so this Saturday I headed off there with mum, who found the idea of a little trip out with the offer of tea and cake and possibly a garden centre outweighed the potential boredom of watching me spending ages discussing the merits of about a hundred trays of seemingly identical seed potatoes.

In the event, I had a rough idea of what I wanted, so spun round the well-organised event (entry: £1) in double quick time, and we splashed out £1.50 each for coffee and delicious homemade cakes afterwards in the church hall.

And we even found a garden centre on the way home where mum bought me a jasmine houseplant because - and I quote - 'that wasn't nearly as boring as I thought it would be'. Marvellous.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Happy New Year

Somewhat belated, perhaps, but it coincides with my first trip to the Hill of the New Year.

Much to the disapproval of Reg-next-plot, I don't visit the plot much in the middle of winter when the weather is bad.  This is because I can see little point in getting cold and/or wet for the sake of it just in order to do some jobs which can just as easily be undertaken in another couple of months when the world is a more cheerful place.

However, it being relatively dry and bright this morning, I thought that it was high time that I dug up the remainder of the year's potatoes, and to make sure that all was in one piece after the recent stormy weather.

Unsurprisingly, I had the place to myself, and spent a good hour or so forking up the potatoes and turning over the bed.  The day became increasingly gloomy, however, and by the time the Richard three plots down arrived, it started with a cold drizzle too.

I was just bagging up the potatoes and digging a couple of leeks at that point, and after we'd had a quick mull over of varieties of potato to be considered for growing this season, was glad to go home an defrost and leave him to it.

I had one of the potatoes as a jacket for tea with stew and veg - good warming fare - and can report that picasso potatoes are the best bakers ever, so that's a definite to grow again this year.

If there is a downside, it is that they weigh best part of a pound a piece and are the size of my head, so are rather substantial - but I think we can live with that!
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