I was told I could have an allotment last week, but it took until this morning to discover which would be mine – it’s plot 35. It has lots of goodies in the way of fruit bushes (currants, gooseberries, rhubarb and others), but also a lot of weeds. It’s going to take me a while to clear some space – an hour today has filled three bin bags with weeds but not made much of a dent – but that gives me some time to work out what I’m going to plant, and where.
It’s been a long, cold spring and it’s a bit late in the season to start planning crops for an allotment. Luckily for me, I have a lot of plants to relocate from the garden, which means more digging and less planning! I need to make a list, though, of the plants I want to move. Some are quite large, like the crab apple, others are much smaller and more easily placed.
I have already mentioned my Sarpo Mira seed potatoes, and I want to move some of the comfrey plants to the allotment. I have achocha seedlings, and oca, and the pepinos from Spalding bulbs. I need to find the edges of the plot, measure it, and draw a plan.
There are Jerusalem artichokes just starting to shoot up in the garden, and I think they’re robust enough to cope with being transplanted. I can always cut them back to limit the amount of leaf they have to support whilst they’re growing new roots. That should make them bush out, too, which is preferable as the allotment is a bit windy and tall stems would no doubt collapse later in the year. They say Jerusalem artichokes make a good wind break, but you’d need a good big block of them I think – mine have always just fallen over in the face of a good blow.
I have Chinese artichokes as well, which are in a crate and can stay there, as they’re related to mint and will go a bit bonkers if they’re given a whole allotment to play with. It would be interesting to see them fight it out with the wild strawberries… I don’t know which would win.
I sowed a handful of seeds last week – some chilacayote (or Shark’s Fin Melons), a pair of summer squash and a pair of Rugosa fruilana, the ugliest and tastiest courgette going. My dad now says he has some spare squash plants, so there may be a bit of a squash glut to deal with over the summer….
I spent an hour on the plot this afternoon, working on one corner at random. It seems to be growing mainly grass and dandelions with the odd thread of bindweed. And feeding snails. But there are what I think are raspberries trying to grow in there, and I have uncovered several of those. It was too warm to stay much longer – who would have thought it, after the weather of the last few days?
There’s a lovage plant in the garden I would like to move, especially now I have a recipe for lovage soup which sounds delicious. And I’d like to rescue my sea kale, as well, since I grew it from seed, although it will no doubt take a while to recover from the affront.
And I’d like to make room for the tarragaon. I thought it had died over the winter, but it finally came back to life a couple of weeks ago, and so I would rather not abandon it. There’s a certain amount of sentimentality going on here, I’m sure, as a lot of these plants would be quite easy to replace. But I have had some of them for years, some were gifts and some are quite unusual. Besides, I don’t have a lot of money to spend on new plants at the moment.
If you had to leave your garden behind and start again somewhere else, which of your plants would you try and take with you on your ark?