Allotment rain at last

And quite a lot of it too! It seems like it hasn’t rained all year, although that’s not true, we had some pretty good downpours in April, but since then the allotment has really suffered. It’s worse for plot 103 than for many of its neighbours because they are mature plots, while the longest established plants on 103, apart from the trees and the currants, are the raspberries that we moved up in November. This means that nothing on our plot has much of a root system, and that more than 80% of what we’re growing is annual or newly planted, with small roots, a tender stem and lots of new green growth: all of which adds up to being totally at the mercy of the sun and wind, of which we’ve had plenty!

So to have rain, solidly, for 24 hours was wonderful, although we could have done without the strong winds that blew up at around 3pm on Sunday and made the last hour of allotment work a chilly, gusty, torment.

While OH finished off the greenhouse and worked on setting up water conservation systems on that and the celestial greenhouse (formerly known as the voodoo shed), I repotted three of the four mint that live under the apple trees: spearmint (for cooking); ginger mint (for deterring insects) and chocolate mint (for the sheer glorious fragrance) – we also have eau de cologne mint but we don’t have a planter ready for it yet. I put some mint offshoots into smaller pots to sell for Practical Action, the charity we support with plant sales at the classes I teach.

Then we had to brave the rain to divide and plant the tub of golden raspberries that I ‘found’ at a garden centre on Saturday. They are the autumn fruiting Allgold variety which has the best flavour (in my opinion) of the golden ones, and from the one pot we managed to make four good canes, meaning that they cost £2.50 each – you get around a kilo of fruit for each 30 cm of cane, and in the shops you pay £2.00 for 250 grams of British grown golden raspberries in October, so we should more than earn back our expenditure in the first year! Except we’d never sell our raspberries of course, but it’s interesting to think about what we spend and what we gain: I describe our allotment growing as ensuring we are ‘self-sufficient in the luxuries’ because I couldn’t afford, on a regular basis to buy the top-of-the-range soft fruit, early vegetables and exotics that I grow and consume with a greed bordering on gluttony. I do give produce away too though!

And by then we were so soaked it really didn’t matter, so we picked peas and beans and went home to hot showers, podding and freezing!

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Monday, June 13, 2011


Blogger Joanna said...

I am so jealous of your rain. We had about 1/2 hour of a good soaking rain but not enough to do much more than dampen the soil. We are barely hanging on in there but only because we found a spring that is still running near to our veg plot.

It's great you support Practical Action, I think they do a fantastic job with the type of projects they work on. They are quite a useful resource for me and what we are doing and I sent the info to someone in Uganda.

June 13, 2011 at 11:11 AM  
Blogger Wendus said...

I used sprigs of mint last year to deter ants from runner beans. It seemed to work although they might have just wandered off :-)

Ginger mint sounds like a top tip though, thanks.

June 13, 2011 at 12:53 PM  
Blogger The Allotment Blogger said...

Joanna, I'm sorry to hear you're still in a drought - it's making it really tough to grow anything from seed this year, isn't it?

Wendus, it really works, believe me, and ginger mint is a handsome addition to the garden as long as you keep it in a container! Otherwise it becomes the entire garden pretty fast ...

June 15, 2011 at 7:31 AM  
Blogger Joanna said...

Yes stuff from seed is a bit hit and miss for sure, the only saving grace is the amount of moisture we have been getting as dew in the mornings, otherwise I think I would have given up entirely

June 15, 2011 at 7:59 AM  

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