I made it down to the allotment today, for the first time this year. Slack of me I know, but I’ve been busy with other creative projects. I’m pretty sure we were still covered in snow this time last year, but the weather today was glorious. Admittedly still cold when a gust of wind hits you from across the fens, but there were bright blue skies and warmth in the sun. Maybe it just felt mild compared to the bitter cold we had before Christmas, and maybe Mother Nature is just luring us into a false sense of security and there’ll be snow again yet, but today almost felt like the tentative, delicate first shoots of Spring. Us Brits are obsessed with the weather, but even more so when a gardener.
The ground is still too wet to do any serious digging, it clogs onto the fork and onto your boots, making digging hard work (more than usual). But it was good to assess the plot. My autumn sown broad beans are coming through nicely, and the purple sprouting broccoli has thankfully recovered okay from the frost and is starting to produce lots of shoots. I snapped off a few of those for my dinner, and the defrosted soil meant I could finally dig up some more leeks and carrots (which have faired surprisingly well). There is still a lot of general clearing up and cutting back needed. I’m envious of fellow plotholders who have neatly dug and manured beds all ready for planting, but we’ll get there.
Back indoors with a cuppa, filled with a new found enthusiasm, it’s time to get the seed catalogues out. And my trusty notebook. Ooh – the joys!
I’m a compulsive planner. I keep notebooks, I always have lists, I research things. I can’t do anything without thinking it through and planning it first, to the point that I probably spend more time planning than actually doing a task. It sounds very organised, but it’s because I’m forgetful, and can easily get in a muddle if I don’t plan things out, that I’ve learnt to do this for my own sanity. If I don’t write down my ideas and plans they get swept away in the windmills of my mind. Which is more like a hurricane some days.
I don’t always stick to my plans, they’re flexible, and I’m not THAT organised, it just helps if I remember what they were to begin with! I don’t know where I’d be without a notebook.
So – seeds. This year I’m mostly concerned with pest avoidance. Carrot fly, whitefly, pea and bean weevil, and golden eelworm are my biggest problems. So I’ve gone for spuds that are resistant to the eelworm and ‘Resistafly’ carrots. I’ll be keeping my early carrots covered with fleece or a barrier, and I’m going to try growing nasturtiums around the brassicas. And most plants will, as usual, be started off at home to get them off to a strong, healthy start. At least my good intentions start with a plan.