At last, here are my final monthly journal pages for 2015. It’s been fun doing these. It seems only yesterday that I randomly decided to start them back in early February. My inspiration came from reading The Joy of Allotments: An illustrated diary of Plot 19 by Caroline Deput, which I highly recommend. And in return I hope I may have inspired some of you to keep a little journal, whether illustrated or not.
From here on, I’m definitely going to keep up the drawing and the journaling, but I’ve decided I’d rather draw and document my allotment on a more ad hoc basis, as and when I have the time/inspiration, rather than an end of month review which can be a bit pressured when time is short. I may occasionally look forwards instead and document my future to-do lists, or plans that are brewing in my head. I may illustrate recipes, or shopping lists etc. It’ll be more mixed, but hopefully in a good way, with the usual triumphs and tribulations. There will still be a few photography based postings too, when I have some worthy photos. I might not post quite so often – when you reach your 8th year of blogging it becomes difficult not to become repetitive – but I hope to make fewer posts more worthwhile, and I hope you’ll continue to follow me down the grassy path to my tranquil little patch of heaven.
Although I’ve been allotmenteering for 8 years now, my enthusiasm for growing my own food has not waned. If anything, it’s stronger than ever, both for health and environmental reasons. I’m increasingly wary of the supermarkets and big food producers with regards to the contents and ethics of our food. I could never go full time vegetarian, but I find myself eating less meat, and more vegetables and pulses. Over the Christmas period I read a book by Tim Spector called The Diet Myth, which has made me far more conscious of what I shovel into my mouth. His basic premise is that we should be eating a wider variety of healthy food, rather than focusing on cutting things out of our diets, in order to feed our gut bacteria and keep it (and ultimately us) healthy. So with this in mind, my aim is to grow a wider variety of crops on my plot, but less of each one to maximise the space. This will also help to keep pests and diseases down – they love nothing better than large swathes of a crop to dominate – and this will also be helped by the intercropping of beneficial flowers. Also if a crop fails for any reason, I haven’t lost out too much if there’s only a small bed of it. Potatoes and onions are probably a slight exception, but they are also becoming more varied.
A few of my plans for the year ahead are illustrated above, but they always flex and adapt as the year goes on, depending on what I can get to germinate, what the weather has in store, or what the mice and slugs are generous enough to leave for me. I have learnt not to depend too much on plans (as they say, plans are the best way to give God a good laugh) and just be grateful for whatever crops do well and feed us. Don’t expect too much and you won’t be disappointed, that’s pretty much my motto for life, and I will leave you with that for the gardening year ahead. Happy 2016!
PS: remember you can click on the picture for a larger view – you may have to click through a couple of times.