September brings a sense of freedom to the plot. I went down to Plot 35a after yet another downpour, when the grass was still glistening wet but the sun had been out long enough to dry the rain off the grapes, which are starting to turn from green to purple. Growth is starting to slow, [...]
The redcurrants and blackcurrants at Plot 35a have finished for this year, but the whitecurrants, which are in their first year, glimmer through the leaves of their bush like pearls and are soon ready for picking.
We’ve spent the last couple of weekends up in North Yorkshire, at Him Indoors’ family’s house, where the season is [...]
I have been watering my plot for nearly an hour, first thing in the morning or late in the evening, just before it gets too dark to see my way back to the allotment gate, to prevent this heat destroying my months of hard work. My vegetables and fruit bushes are teeming with crops now, [...]
I have recently rediscovered one of my favourite films from childhood, Jean de Florette. It is one of the greatest-ever in the French language. Directed by Claude Berri, from the original Marcel Pagnol film and novel, about Provencal farmers and a tussle over land and water. A peasant farmer who wants to grow carnations has [...]
Plot 35a is now very green and full of crops that will soon be ready to harvest. The broad bean flowers – traditional white and black but also the dark pink of the crimson flowered variety – are full and look like they’re ready to start popping with tiny pods. The pea bed is a [...]
Last week I moved my tomatoes, chillies, cucumbers, melons and cucamelon plants from the windowsill in our dining room to the cold frame at the plot. Him Indoors was very happy to get them out of the house, but I had to make sure these tender plants were, too. Late April to early May sees [...]
My daughter reckons March is called as such because “you spend the whole month marching” and when it comes to the allotment I think she’s right: after the steady pace of winter, suddenly spring is upon us and it gets really busy. Once soil temperatures rise to the magic 7 degrees C you can sow [...]
While the British allotment-holder struts and frets from March to October, in Finland it is, as you can imagine, entirely different. Snow covers the ground from late autumn to mid-spring, and nothing can be sown into the soil, still frozen in April, until well into May. The season is short, but intense – as I [...]
One of the plants I inherited when I took over Plot 35a last year was a gooseberry bush. It was quite straggly and had criss-crossing branches and as a result cropped poorly last summer. The handful of gooseberries it did produce, however, were red, not green, and I later found a faded label revealing it [...]
Every allotment needs fruit bushes and trees. Compared to vegetables, fruit is fairly low maintenance – once you sort out the pruning, nourishing with well-rotted manure and netting your harvest to keep the birds off.
I got my first allotment nearly four years ago – actually, about a week before I gave birth to my daughter. [...]
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