Thursday, 29 December 2016

Festive allotment check-up

Don't get me wrong, Christmas is brilliant, obviously. Going home and drinking tonnes of booze and forcing a week's worth of calories down the chute in twenty four hours and then meeting other people that you don't see all that often for more drinks and food and then seeing some of the outlying relatives during which why not have a bit of that leftover cake, and so on, and on and on: it's all brilliant. However, I'm also quite a big fan of the few days - if you're lucky enough to be excused from work - after which all major duties have been completed and set-piece meals consumed and you can just sort of potter about, tidy up and hunker down for a few days, punctuated only by Charlie Brooker's end-of-year thingy.

We'll be hunkering and pottering from now until such time as our jobs require us to re-attend them. We pottered right on up to the allotment earlier this very morn, and a quite gorgeous, clear winter day it was too, crisp and fresh and, actually, a bit of warmth issuing from that lazy ol' sun. It's over a month since the last time we were up there, which on the one hand is a disgrace, but on the other hand is totally fine as there really isn't a great deal to be doing anyhow. Nonetheless, even in this most inhospitable of growing seasons, there are happenings and stirrings afoot.

New life
The bed of broad beans, onions and garlic which I planted around the end of Oct/ beginning of Nov has fairly burst into action. It might not look like much from this wide angle, so let's get up in its face a bit.

Broad beans
We've had mixed results with Aquadulce Claudia - widely considered to be quite the best beans to sow in Autumn - in the past. One year they just didn't germinate at all. I assume that the relatively mild, and moist rather than sodden winter that we're having so far has helped them get off to a running start this time around. A couple have been munched upon but it does look that we'll have a good load of plants for an early beany harvest.

The onion news is similarly encouraging, with the majority of sets we planted having at least a bit of green erupting from their tops. No sign of the garlic yet, but that got planted a good couple of inches underground. Patience, patience!

Frosty kale
There are even snippets of food still to be culled from the plot. Kasia gathered some Cavolo nero kale, which we'll be having with lamb chops and sauté spuds (some of the last of our own), seeing as you ask.

The days are already lengthening; before you know what's what it'll be time to chit the spuds, assess the seed-drawer and make plans for the new season. For now though, I've got some serious hunkering to crack on with.

Here's hoping you had a splendid and restive Festivus, and best wishes for the new year and beyond.


  1. It's good to see omthin griing isn't it? We don't overwintr broad beans but our autumn planted onions are oing well.

  2. Thanks for sharing. I've been talking it over for the past few years and this January I'm going to build 2 raised planters for veg. A couple of thoughts behind it is to get the kids to see stuff growing and realised that veg doesn't just come from the shop!

    1. Nice one! Sounds obvious, but make sure that wherever you put them gets loads of light, and you'll be flying.


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