On Wednesday we went to our plot at the allotment…we share a fairly large plot with 3 other families on top of the hill in Brighton, it’s got amazing views but as a result is also fairly exposed to the elements. So when we went up this week for the first time in a fortnight due to a spate of heavy rain (I do admit, I am a bit of a fair weather gardener!) I was fairly apprehensive, expecting to find a forest of weeds having sprung up in my absence but was pleasantly surprised to find this instead.
Although a bit weedy, I was mostly drawn to how bare it looked. Having harvested all our potatoes, most of our onions and losing our salad bed (we all neglected it and it flowered and became a little beautiful patch of 5ft plants swaying gently in the breeze…pretty but definitely no longer edible) there is an awful lot of space with nothing in it. We’ve had a pretty decent crop from our courgettes and broccoli plants and a couple of red cabbages but really our harvest is over and we now need to decide how best to fill the space over the winter.
We’ve planted some garlic and although I did cheat and plant supermarket bought Spanish cloves which was a bit risky in our climate, we found three little shoots resolutely poking through the soil this week. I was probably far too excited by this and even took a shot to document the progress (am very aware you can barely see the shoot for weeds but it’s there, I promise!!)
We’ve had advice to plant broad beans, peas and winter red onions so that is planned but it won’t take up all the space so if there are any experienced gardeners reading this please do give us ideas for other things that we could plant!! Back in sunny September I optimistically helped the girls plant some sunflower seeds to border the ‘kids area’ and they have sprouted and are growing well but have been informed that they won’t survive the winter. I read a forecast for icy temperatures and lots of snow this winter so I suspect that will indeed be the case but watch this space!
Our time at the allotment has been filled with ups and downs; all four of the Mama’s involved have either had a new baby this year or are pregnant and the weather has been fairly adverse this summer…the two combined has led to us receiving two weed notices. Thankfully though, we’ve pulled together and come through the other side with lots more wisdom for next year on what works and doesn’t and what it takes to maintain the plot. Despite the challenges of gardening with a non walking baby strapped to you (small man does not like pushchairs), I’m really enjoying working up there. Over the year Sophia has progressed from just playing with mud (which is obviously great in itself) to actually wanting to help me sow, hoe, rake, harvest and water. I love her enthusiasm and it’s great to be able to talk to her about growing our own vegetables and how certain plants are ready at different times of year (contrary to what you see in the supermarket). There is also a certain satisfaction in bringing home onions, potatoes, broccoli and courgette to use in our meals and our bank balance agrees (every little helps!)
I foresee this winter being a challenge but I think we are passionate enough about it to keep it going and hopefully Isaac will be toddling about in no time so I can bend properly without his cries of protest!
And slightly off topic but because I can’t resist a cute picture of the kids, on the way home I took them to a park that we have walked past many a time but never had the time to stop and go in. Sophia’s joy at finally going there was contagious and a good time was had by all of us even though the heaven’s opened on us (again) on the way home because of the play stop!