This week, making grape jelly and planting onions, shallots and garlic.
GOT ANY GRAPES?
The grapevine on Plot 35a is one of the things I like the most about my allotment. It is the jewel in the crown: a gigantic vine that every summer produces hundreds of bunches of grapes. In some ways, it is so simple [...]
On the route of our school run there is a mature quince tree, dominating the front garden of a house. For the past few weeks its branches have been lit up by scores of golden quinces. I noticed it only when a fellow school run mum, who had been eyeing it up, told me about [...]
In early September it feels like we are still clinging onto summer. By late September, after the autumnal equinox, it feels like a headlong rush towards winter. It doesn’t matter if there’s an Indian Summer (and I thought one was promised for this weekend), if the sun beats down at lunchtime and makes you hang [...]
Back in February I was delighted to be asked to be one of the judges in the first year of Britain’s Best Allotment competition, sponsored by Hippo. Anyone who has an allotment will know how much work it takes to keep a plot ticking over with veg and fruit throughout the season, as well as [...]
Why do people have allotments? Is it the joy of growing food? The escape from the daily grind? The urge to create something beautiful out of nature? Or – and in my experience this is usually in most cases – all three? And what about the competitive streak of many plot-holders? My competitive urges come [...]
My Dad, a veteran of 30 years allotmenteering and who tends three plots in Liverpool, came to 35a the other day for a critical midwinter assessment. We stared at the patch where purple sprouting broccoli is supposed to be cropping in the next few weeks, and where there are a couple of very small cauliflower [...]
For the first time in several years, I didn’t sow my sweet peas in November. Normally I would sow them indoors or outside in a cold frame to give them the winter to bulk up. In autumn 2012, in fact, I sowed them in pots outside in late October and they grew enough to be [...]
I normally cannot wait to take down our Christmas tree after the big day itself. Along with all the clutter of wrapping paper, leftover food and empty wine bottles I just want to get rid of it once its purpose is served. By early January after two or three weeks in a centrally heated sitting [...]
Christmas is a time for many traditions and one of ours, on Christmas Eve, is to hurry around our local shops picking up all the food we’ve ordered, standing in line outside different stores. We are not the only ones. It is as if a madness has descended and we believe that, from the close [...]
The Government may insist winter doesn’t start until December 21st (which is why they can have an Autumn Statement this month) but winter has definitely arrived everywhere else outside Westminster. On Sunday night we had our coldest night in London all year – in fact last winter was so mild I think it might have [...]
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