Planting, picking and swapping

One of the things I love about gardening on an allotment, as opposed to in your own back garden, is the feeling of community spirit. You can sometimes spend hours down there without seeing anyone, and then you have days which are more social and sometimes things unexpectedly come your way. Often it’s piss-taking banter or friendly advice that get thrown your way in equal measures, but whatever it is, the key is to always give back as good as you get.

Take these little-uns – spare butternut squashes which came my way, and were shortly exchanged for a bit of much needed sun block which I always keep handy in the shed.

And then I was invited to go strawberry picking by a plot holder only too glad to give up her surplus to me rather than the birds. My strawberries are now in their third year and are struggling to produce anything (I need to start the bed afresh in the autumn) so I was very glad of these. In return I cut her a big bunch of my Sweet Williams. Isn’t life nice when you can get something you love, in exchange for something you have too much of. Wouldn’t it be great if we could pay our way through life like this. Not sure my mortgage lender will take payments of fruit, veg and flowers. Though I do know one plot holder who gives his surplus (from 2 plots) to his local pub in exchange for a pint or two of beer. Brilliant, carrots for beer!

Anyway, aside from all the swapping and nattering, I did manage to plant out my tomatoes. They’re a mix of varieties, though not blight resistant, so fingers crossed. I planted them fairly deep and gave each one the (now customary) little moat drawn into the soil around each plant to avoid the water running off.

The onions tops had bent over on some, a sign they’re nigh on ready for harvest. Though some (as last year) had sent up flowering stems. The usual advice is to just cut out the flowering stem. The only problem with that is, if the flowering stem had developed to a certain thickness, you end up with a hole in the stem which will potentially fill with water if it rains and quickly rot the onion.

So I decided the lucky 7 that fell into that category could be pulled up for immediate use.

Also pulled up a lettuce and my first two beetroot. Fresh (proper fresh) home grown produce in the kitchen again at last. Just got to keep it all going now.

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