Pumpkin Soup

a weblog with an allotment attached

17 August 2008

Plot bountiful

Last year when we decided to convert the garden into potager I was confident, for the most part, that it was a good idea. But I would be lying if I said that I was completely sure that we would really make it work. Owen was concerned that I would do my usual trick of having big ideas that prove to be unsustainable (allotment, new job, supporting a partner with a new business, and PhD at the same time, anyone?).

Now that we have had the veg patch for some months (including, most importantly, the months requiring the most work with least gain) I think we are in a position to declare the change an unqualified success. I love being able to pop outside whenever I fancy so I can pull up a weed here or pluck some pea pods there. Working from home as I fairly often do means that I really benefit from having the garden to clear my mind. Bad weather’s not a problem as I can just slip outside between showers and I’m not reliant on the weekends being free.

I knew that the convenience would factor big for me so that’s not really a surprise. What has been delightful has been the way that everything has exceeded my expectations. Without exception, every plant has grown far better than it ever did down the allotment. I think this is a combination of site (the garden is a sheltered sun trap), soil (or rather, soil plus Mr Muck’s wondrous well-rotted horse manure) and attention (stuff in this garden has actually had some as opposed to the allotment which was sadly neglected). It’s certainly nothing to do with any skill on my part as I have none. Though I do manage to have accidental successes.

Take my raspberries, for example. I planted five canes of an autumn fruiting variety and promptly forgot all about them. I managed not to plant them in accordance with the instructions – did not cut the canes down to ground level. Back in July the canes started to produce a few raspberries. Lovely. Not many it’s true, but then I thought that in the first year they might not. I was a happy bunny that the plants were still alive. Then I read the instructions, was reminded that they are autumn fruiting and had a surprise because, “Recent research has shown that if a few canes are left on autumn fruiting raspberried a small extra early crop of summer fruit will be borne. This does not appear to significantly reduce the capacity of the canes to fruit again in the autumn.” Well hey – see what I mean by accidental success?

What about you guys? Are you allotment pros? Or do you have veg in your garden? A few edibles on a patio or balcony? Or are you a flower-only person? Perhaps you have no garden and get your green-finger thrills vicariously online until you find your own little patch of earth. It would be great to hear from you about what works for you.

Filed under: Harvest — Clare @ 6:21 pm


5 responses

  1. Mrs Be

    I quite often think I’d be better off converting some of the back garden into a veggie plot. Then of course, there’s the front as well. I dunno what’s stopping me really. Perhaps the thought of my world shrinking to just this tiny house and garden. But then again, as I’m here so much.

    I’ve often thought too that veggies would grow better because I would build beautiful raised beds from railway sleepers and so would have optimum soil as opoosed to the clay c**p at the lottie.

    Hmm…I think I’m coming round. I’m all about convenience me.

    Anyway, just wanted to say well done for your impressive harvest. I loved this post. Oh, BTW, I tried to pick it at Blotanical but it said that you had been picked by VP and had 25 picks which was impressive! Then I looked at your strawberry runner post and that said the same so I think there might be a Blotanical glitch (not that I’m saying your posts couldn’t generate 25 picks or anything..!)

    Better go. This comment is more like a blog post. Sorreeee!

    (17.08.08 @ 10:02 pm)

  2. Clare

    Hi Mrs Be – Thank you for your kind words! You’re right about my Blotanical feed – I’ve had an email about this and am in the process of trying to sort it out. Blinkin’ technical stuff!

    As you can probably tell from this post, I am certianly in favour of gardening from home as it has made my life so much easier. I think it also suits my aesthetic tastes as I feel I can justify spending a bit of money on making my plot look nice when it’s attached to my home. I think it really depends on why you do it and what you’re looking for. I definitely do not garden to make friends (that’s what a blog is for! ; ) ) and so leaving the allotments was something of a relief. There are pros and cons either way…

    (17.08.08 @ 10:29 pm)

  3. Mrs Be

    Y’know Clare, the financial bit of it hadn’t even crossed my mind. Spending money on something that would make the view from my kitchen table much nicer is a definite plus instead of spending the money on the lottie. Another entry on the pros list!

    I don’t have a lottie for the friendship angle either – our site is very small and not overly friendly so no loss there.

    Hmmm…..have you posted plans of your garden? It’s hard to tell how big some plots are by just looking at pics. One of the things holding me back is the planning of it. Useless I am at that!

    (19.08.08 @ 8:30 am)

  4. Gnome

    My growing career was the other way round. Year on year I grew runner beans at the far end of the garden so that we could benefit from the flowers and the beans, watching their progress from the dining room window. I didn’t want to expand this activity because we so enjoyed sitting on the lawn in the summer and I felt to give more space over was not going to make life as idyllic as I wanted. Getting an allotment has been as hard work as you have experienced and I am looking forward to retirement (and ceramic recasting) in the next year or two so that I can devote more time to the task.

    Now that I have had a hip replacement, for the next three months I am having to direct others – and that is really frustrating (“you don’t want to know whats happening to your cabbages !”)

    (19.08.08 @ 11:59 am)

  5. Clare

    Mrs Be – I don’t think I have posted any plan of the garden – I will do that very soon. I’m not sure how mauch that will help you – our garden is utterly tiny and we have given over about 3/4 of it to veg patch (we don’t have to keep play space for kids…). we slo had very little option for design as the space was so small but I wanted to cram a lot in. Very functional.

    Gnome – How lovely to hear from you (though I have been following your hip progress on your blog). Sounds like you are completely converted to allotment life. Good for you. Gives you more room for those marrows I know you are so fond of. It must be frustrating having to get others to do the work for you while you recuperate. I dread to think what they’re doing to your cabbages!

    (19.08.08 @ 12:59 pm)

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