The allotment diary: First harvest
Despite only have her plot a couple of months, Rosee Woodland has got lucky with the weather and is enjoying the fruits (and veg) of her labours.
There are two ways to get fruit and veg at the allotment. Grow your own, or be given some by your generous neighbours. It’s been a lovely surprise this summer to be handed bagfuls of plums, a perfectly ripe fig; delicious courgettes, and even blueberries.
I am feeling hopeful that I’ll be able to return the favour next year, but in the meantime, I’ve been able to harvest a few small treats.
When I was first given the metaphorical keys to the site (the gate actually opens with a keypad code) tomatoes were the first thing I planted.
I knew that their need for regular water and food would help me to get in the habit of visiting frequently. In fact, the amount of rain we’ve had in the months since I took on 6B has allowed me to be a little lazier with the tomatoes than I would normally be, but they are still growing well.
This feels like a triple victory as they were planted later than ideal, were in pots (also less than ideal) and had been rescued from the bargain section of my local garden centre due to looking rather sorry for themselves.
I’ve no idea what variety they are as they weren’t properly labelled, but I ate the first one a few days ago and it was absolutely delicious. Having grown bush tomatoes in beds before very successfully, I’m looking forward to growing far more tomatoes next year and have already bought a couple of varieties of seeds to sow come January.
Courgettes have constantly eluded me - I’ve never been able to grow them in pots - the slugs and snails always beat me to any type of harvest.
Not this year though! Perhaps it’s because there are other more interesting things to eat, but I’ve managed to glean three whole courgettes this year from the single growbag mine is in. Again, it’s a pretty tiny harvest, but it gives me hope for what’s to come.
My leeks, planted like everything, a little late, are coming on nicely and there is purple sprouting broccoli growing reasonably well, and carrot and beetroot seeds sown.
I’m not massively hopeful for my runner beans, which languished in a growbag for far too long while I cleared the ground, but they do have some of those beautiful red flowers, so you never know.
My black dwarf beans seem to be doing better - every time I visit they’ve gotten a little taller.
In the meantime, I’ve got trays of lettuce and mustard seeds sprouting back in my garden for winter salad, and the first chillies have come out of the greenhouse.
There is a lot to do on the allotment, but thanks to some luck with the weather, and a lot of hard work, I’m feeling productive already.
Rosee Woodland is a designer and freelance journalist. She lives in Bristol with her family and their Boston terrier, Ponyo. See specialises in knitting design and grading, and regularly teaches classes for A Yarn Story in Bath. She’s worked with leading brands in the craft industry including Rowan, Patons, Aurifil, Rico Design and Lewis & Irene. Her work has been featured in many magazines including The Knitter, Knit Now, Simply Knitting, Mollie Makes, Simply Sewing and Simply Crochet. When she’s not busy making she shares her wild swimming adventures at www.iswimlikeagirl.com.