Becka's Kitchen Garden

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Journey to the centre of the allotment March 11, 2010

Filed under: Ramblings,Uncategorized — Rebecca @ 1:15 pm

Welcome, and thanks for popping in.
To get things started, here’s a little potted history:

The journey begins in January 2009, when on a whim, I decided to apply for my first allotment. “Grow your own” was just beginning to become popular, and I felt inspired by the enthusiasm of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and the Landshare project.
I signed up to this, and investigated allotments. Suprised to find out it could be as little as a year to get my own plot, I sent off the application and waited.

Impatient as I am, and keen to gather my first harvest, I decided to see what could be grown in containers on my small but sunny (British weather dependant!) patio.
I trotted off to the garden centre and spent a small fortune on new pots, compost, fertiliser, a watering can, seed trays, and a selection of seeds suitable for pots. Phew!
I spent the rest of that weekend filling pots with soil, and sowing seeds. Broccoli, small carrots, mange tout and salad seeds were all carefully sprinkled into trays, watered, and placed in the lounge with propagating lids on.
A couple of weeks later, and success! There are sprouts! Feeling very proud, the strongest and biggest shoots got planted out into pots. The gardening bug had well and truly bitten me!
 
Fast forward a few months, to early summer. Things were starting to look promising – the carrots had tops, the beans were climbing happily around their little bamboo canes, I’d already eaten a good bagful of mixed salad, and the broccoli was starting to get nice thick stems and plenty of leaves. A few tomato plants had also been aquired, it was all very exciting!
Then the first disaster – cabbage butterflies! I got home from work one day – yes, about 10hrs was all it took – to find half of my lovely-looking broccoli plants ragged and wriggling. I could have cried!
With the help of my heroic OH the caterpillars were removed, and life went on. For a week.
Then they regrouped for a second assault. This time leaving me little more than 4 bare & sorry-looking green stems. I think my heart broke that day.

Over the following months I pressed on with what I had left. I harvested a small, but nonetheless enjoyabe mange tout crop, quite a few tomatoes, and a goodly amount of salad.
None of this, however, compares to the carrots! I don’t think I have ever tasted such sweet, flavoursome carrots as these were! Small, yet perfectly formed, they really were a joy to behold! So good that second and third crops were sown (I have, infact, not long dug up the last few remainders. Slightly frost-damaged, but they made a lovely batch of carrot & lentil soup!). And nothing is more satisfying that sitting down to a hearty bowl of home made soup, made with fresh produce, with a chunk of homemade bread to dunk in it.

And that brings us to today. One solitary, brave, and hardy broccoli stem has survived through the winter snows & frosts, and is starting to show signs of new foliage. The last of the carrots have been consumed, and I have been considering whether or not to repeat last year’s valiant efforts.

Then completely out of the blue last week, sitting and waiting for me in my inbox was an email to inform me that I had reached the top of the waiting list and an allotment would be mine! All of the excitement I felt this time last year has come rushing back – I don’t even have the keys yet and already I’m plotting and scheming what I will grow, when, where…!

So that’s where we are. I decided to start this blog as I’d quite like to be able to chart my progress – regardless of success or failure – in the world of allotments, and also to share my experiences with anyone who might be interested.
I’m hoping it will enjoyable and useful. Please keep popping back for updates!

xx

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