It’s been a busy time at the allotment since I wrote about it three months ago. I must admit, it hasn’t all gone exactly to plan, I’m easily tempted by lovely looking fruit and vegetables that I don’t really have room for, but some tasty vegetables have been harvested.
Beetroot has been one of the best, very easy to grow from seed sown directly into the soil, it tastes delicious simply sprinkled with olive oil and roasted for about an hour.
Fruit bushes are so easy they just need pruning and compost added to their base two or three times a year. The gooseberries and blackcurrants have been picked and are stashed in the freezer until I have time to make jam.
Carrots, broad beans and potatoes have been wonderful, carrots grow well in raised beds because the soil is free from stones that cause those strangely shaped carrots.
I’m growing Japanese red onion squash (Uchiki kuri) for eating in winter, tied in at first with a little string to encourage them, they’re now happily scrambling up the poles.
Learning from my mistakes:
Last year I was a bit late protecting brassicas (sprouts, cabbage, brocolli) and the pigeons got them first, this year they have a fine net over them to keep out the birds and the cabbage white butterflies. I also learnt that butterflies will find a way in if you don’t thoroughly pin the netting to the ground.
It’s a constant battle as me and the various pests try to outdo each other and get to the produce first.
Borage is a pretty plant with clear, blue flowers. They’re edible, perfect for Pimms and the bees like it, but it loves the conditions at the allotment so this year I’ve been more ruthless about digging it up.
My top tips for a happy allotment are:
- nurture the soil at least three times through the growing season with thick layers of compost or well-rotted horse manure
- make notes or take photos so you have a record of how it’s all doing and use this information next year
- grow fruit and vegetables that you can’t easily buy in the shops
- plan ahead so that you always have something to harvest
- don’t be discouraged by plants failing or getting eaten, it seems to be part of the process.
So that’s what’s growing at the allotment in July and this is what it looked like three months ago.
all images: Jill Anderson