Last year we had good intentions of starting seeds off early indoors so we were one step ahead with getting plants out early. We had all of the stuff to do it, however time ran away with us and we never got organised. This year, however, we are much better prepared, and a few days ago Sarah got to work planting up some trays which we will keep in the house until they are ready to plant out.
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.
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.
We have food! Not a huge amount, granted, but it’s a start. Tom was at the allotment in the week and saw that some of the few surviving first batch of broadbeans have ripened; needless to say these were picked just before leaving the allotment. Towards the end of my visit there I noticed little flecks of red in some of the long grass that are we yet to strim. I had a closer look to find some strawberry plants… bit of a cheeky result!
A few days late we know but we wanted to say a few words about the last month on the allotment. It’s been a very productive month in terms of figuring things out, beginning to get beds cleared and plan where we are going. We’ve made sense of the plot and have a better idea of what work needs to be done. We now have a nice new shiny set of hand tools which should last us a good while, and I’ve gotten into an enjoyable little routine on a Saturday of going over there for an hour or so armed with a flask of coffee to get to work.
Another aspect which we are exploring is how we handle rubbish. On the allotment (and indeed in the kitchen) we will be producing a fair amount of green waste, which can be put to good use in our composting bins. Along with the shed, we inherited two plastic composting bins on the allotment, which has some compost already in. Whats there is mixed; theres some usable stuff, with some unrotted material in there as well. We will make a sieve from scavenged materials to sort this out sometime soon. Once emptied we will start afresh with empty bins for the coming year.