Monday, 7 January 2008

Start of the year

So, the new year rolls by and the quiet time on our allotment idles along. We made a quick visit today, our first of the year, to check things over. All was well; we picked a couple of cabbages which together might just make a couple of servings. They are the remnants of the very late, cabbage afterthoughts that Rob gave us last year, but they taste good. The spinach is small but growing so it should be some use once the growing season starts. The garlic is sprouting rapidly - I hope it's not too early since there is lots of opportunities for frost yet. We might get a couple of meals from the last of the leeks - more of Rob's gifts from last year.

The ground is very wet and our newly dug and enriched soil is muddy (claggy in local parlance) but it will dry a little soon. I don't expect to have to work the ground much for the next few weeks, except perhaps pulling the odd weed. The bindweed that the site was covered in will still make appearances as the year goes by and it seems that the only way to deal with it is dig it out as it appears. When I say covered with bindweed, I mean it. There were two small plum trees on the jungle when we first took it over last July, but one was so completely hidden by bindweed that it was a couple of weeks before we even knew the plum tree was there. The space that was not covered with this climbing menace was waist-deep in stinging nettles.

The cuttings we took from blackcurrants and gooseberries look as though they have taken, so our fruit bushes should improve over the next couple of years. The raspberry canes are surviving the winter winds, aided no doubt by being tied to the wires I put up last year, and by being pruned and free of the blanket of bindweed. Norman gave us some (loads of) strawberry plants which were cut from his runners. They seem to be surviving the winter - I'm just not sure how well they'll do since they are not in raised beds.

The exciting time of planting seeds is fast approaching, then the work really starts.

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