The Allotment Pre Plan

If the press are to be believed today is ‘blue Monday’.  On such a glorious day? Really? You’ve got to love a media construct, designed no doubt to make us all feel a little bit worse about things than we should.  So I’m putting it out there that I love January.

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As a gardener it’s the time that I think Winter is firmly on it’s way out and I can start planning properly for the new season, well pre planning that is, because before I start to firm things up I want to consider some principles.

Time – How much time am I prepared to devote to the plot and the particular crops that I grow.

Quality – Some crops will hands down beat anything that might be found in a supermarket. My particular favourites being sweetcorn, broad beans and peas.

Value – In relation to effort, space, time etc. some things just don’t warrant our time.  Things like herbs and flowers that are costly to buy are, however, a very different story.

Space – Less of a consideration for us this year, but I’m still not keen to grow main crop potatoes or onions preferring to give the room over to other things.

So that’s my pre plan and on this very gorgeous day I’d love to hear all about yours.

Butterflies In The Glasshouse

Last weekend waking up to a sunny Sunday morning we decided to abandon our very muddy, waterlogged plot for the day and drive over to RHS Wisley.  I was keen, as ever, to visit the vegetable garden, take some photographs and have a walk.  What we hadn’t factored in was how cold it would be and though I did all the things I wanted to it was barely an hour before I was seeking some warmth.

The Glasshouse RHS Wisley

So with that in mind we headed over to The Glasshouse which houses Wisley’s collection of exotic plants, with dry temperate, moist temperate and tropical zones it features palms, cacti, orchid collections and many other species that we would only normally expect to grow as house plants in the UK.  Whilst these are always a pleasure to see on grand scale in their jungle like setting, on Sunday they played a bit of a supporting role to the stunningly beautiful butterflies that are being introduced in preparation for the annual Butterflies in the Glasshouse exhibition which starts this coming weekend.

Monday Plotlines

Very wet and weirdly warm for the time of year best describes the weather here at the moment.  I arrived at the plot yesterday morning to find the entrance to the site under six inches of water.

A combination of  a much needed manure delivery, the last lot disappeared in three weeks flat, and continual rain renders it slippy and perilous underfoot even if wearing stout wellington boots.

Southbourne Gardens

The digging and clearing continues and we’re resigned now to having to get a skip in to clear  the rubbish away.  I was pleased, however to find the tin bath, if you’re a fan of Sarah Raven you’ll see these in the Christmas catalogue planted up with yellow pansies, a very cheering I think.  The plot could really do with some Winter colour.

Southbourne Gardens

We’re getting some great salad crops from the Rocket Gardens plug plants we bought a couple of months ago and I’ll share some photos of these later this week, my only sadness is that yet again we have whitefly on the kale and cavolo nero.  Just too warm perhaps?  Also a good crop of carrots and parsnips.

Carrots and Parsnips

The wheat and spelt have germinated and the birds have had a party, little did we know how keen they’d be on the tender young shoots, another lesson to net everything.  The question now is, do we sow some more to fill in gaps.  The garlic has also germinated so now it’s just the broad beans to go in and we’re done for this year, though with new seed catalogues already dropping through the letterbox it’s not far off starting all over again.

Thank you for reading.

V.

I am linking this post to Annie’s How Does Your Garden Grow over at her blog mammasaurus.