Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Planting out, feeling grim

allotment blog
Long shadows as the mercury sinks
We staggered down to the plot on Sunday after an evening of making very generous and fulsome tributes at the temple of Bacchus, feeling none too great. This has, at least for me, become a bit of a regular weekenderly routine. The existential woe and grim foreboding that comes with any hangover worthy of the name is definitely ameliorated slightly by spending time around food that you have grown yourself.
However, I do find that, when in that kind of state, I'm very pessimistic about anything that I'm planting or starting from scratch. "What's the fucking point, this (insert name of plant/job/activity here) has got no fucking chance of working out. God, I feel like shit. Have we got any tea left?" That's the kind of enthusiastic battle-cry I'm prone to come out with. I just hope the onion sets and seeds aren't listening, the poor dears.

This sense of despondency is probably a bit more understandable than it has previously been when planting things out in the temperatures we had yesterday. Winter has announced itself in no uncertain terms. We've had a blast of snow already, and now we're onto some pretty assertive frosts. Digging over ground in this context feels a bit mad, but we had onion sets still to plant and not much time left to plant them in. I'll be amazed if anything comes of them, but I reckon we put onions in later than this last year, so let's just see. Postive thinking, yeah?

newcastle blog
This used to be other things, but has magically changed to compost!
Hopefully we've improved their chances of success by mixing some compost in to the topsoil. This was the first time that we had used anything out of either of our compost bins on the plot, so was quite exciting. Food scraps and paper shreddings had been going in here for over a year, so great to get some payback from that. The compost looked good and friable. I can't take much credit for composting, that's Kasia's department. She has taken to composting with an enthusiasm that I struggle to maintain, to the extent that I suspect no small amounts of  perfectly edible comestibles have found their way onto the compost heap. No matter: nothing truly wasted.

Top mulching
Apart from planting out these onion sets, we had a tidy-up, composting the last of the rhubarb stems and mulching the crowns with more compost, tidying the last of the cauliflowers and chopping down all the raspberry canes.

We had a bit of a harvest too, of black radishes, jerusalem artichokes, the last of our lettuces, a couple of caulis and, most excitingly, the first of our small parsnip patch. We have lavished a grand total of no attention whatsoever on these, failing even to really thin them out, so the resultant roots will certainly go down as at least a moderate success. It's great digging up something you've never grown before, to cries of "hey, not bloody bad!" They smelled absolutely amazing so I'm looking forward to tasting these. Plainly roasted I reckon.

Crazy ol' parsnips
So that was all; not the most productive day down at the plot, but given the background noise of nausea and loathing that was insisting on not being ignored, not too bad; not too bad.


  1. Well you certainly got a lot more done than me last weekend. We had heavy rain so I spent time in the greenhouse trying to find a mouse that is a better hider than I am seeker!!

    I have yet to look at my parsnips..fingers crossed!!

    1. Hope your parsnips turn out great Tanya! We're pretty happy with ours considering it's our first time.

  2. oh dear.. mixing the juice before a day on the lottie. not good for the soul as you hinted at. I always find that a day on the lottie generates a thirst and maybe thats why we choose Saturdays to 'not-dig' and Sundays to get over it :)

    nice parsnips!! especially that monster in the front of the picture.

  3. Heading out with hangovers into a freezing Saturday morning? Yep, you are real gardeners.

    1. Cheers. A rite de passage of some sort, clearly!


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