Happy new year! I know we are a few days late in wishing that but better late than never. Over the Christmas break I managed to do a lot more clearing at the allotment, carrying on with our plan of three long beds on the footprint of the previous raised beds. All last week at work I had been looking forward to the weekend, having made plans for the allotment. One of the new things I wanted to try out was cooking some food on a little bucket BBQ while I worked.
On a chilly wet day finding a cosy indoor job is a rare luxury when it comes to allotmenteering. Cue today’s job: sorting out our seed stocks. Last year we made a fair few seed purchases giving us a broad selection of plants to play with. Due to the limited space we had managed to clear and the sheer quantity of seeds you get in a packet for some varieties, we have a number of part used packets and even a couple of unopened packs. Some of these have been kept in the shed if they were sown directly, others at home where we started planting early in pots and trays. We’ve gathered them from their various locations and now the organising can commence.
September is quickly disappearing, with mornings and evenings drawing in, and the first few leaves turning and falling from the trees. Temperatures are dropping and the very distinct smell of autumn is in the air. Even with the declining season there is still plenty to prepare for winter.
Saturday saw the completion of one of the bigger jobs that I wanted to have done before the weather turns: weather proofing the outside of the shed. One incredibly hot day a few weeks ago I got a decent coat of paint on the walls, protecting the wood and making the shed look clean and loved. I even put new house number stickers on the side for our plot number. Saturday I had a decent chunk of the afternoon to spend at our plot so decided to tackle the roof.
I was talking to someone at work other day, and needless to say the subject of our allotment came up. He was quite interested about the whole subject and asked me a question that I hadn’t really thought much about: “How much cheaper is it to grow your own compared to buying vegetables at the shop?” Up until now I have been focussing on other benefits such as taste, nutrition, satisfaction of the process as well the philosophy of growing your own. Its crazy that the idea this would save us a lot of money on our food bill hadn’t really occured to me.
A few days late for a July update but there we go! What a summer it’s been so far. We have had the first rain here in about 10 weeks and given how much we have neglected watering our allotment, things have done surprisingly well. We have been using some of the herbs from our little herb garden and have noticed the difference from dried supermarket herbs. We have also been making the most of the heat to dry next winter’s firewood.
In a few articles we have mentioned our plans to incorporate crop rotation on the allotment. Contrary to the comedic mental image of spinning vegetables, this is a very effective way to manage your allotment’s soil preparation and to reduce the risk of crops being thwarted by any soil-bourne nasties that can build up.