Time management is usually one of my better skills. The greatest exception seems to be when I set foot on the allotment. I often pop in on my way home from work to do some “quick” weeding. Three hours later, Scott is phoning me, wanting to know when I might be coming home.
I’ve taken to limiting my time by only allowing myself only one or two tasks at a time. If I am weeding I keep my time there in check by allowing myself one bucket load of weeds. If I have more time available, then one wheelbarrow load. Sticking to this proves difficult occasionally, as I often start the “just one more bed” technique.
Early morning start
I did recently allow myself a day without any time restriction. I packed a lunch and headed over to the plot at 7am. I’m quite used to early starts, as I often have to head to the New Covent Garden Flower Market in the wee hours before work. It was glorious, just me, some playful fox cubs and the mist. By the time people started to arrive, the temperature really began to rise, so I just took it easy and dead headed the sweet peas instead.
The TO DO list
I do have a touch of the OCD when it comes to organisation, as can be seen by the To Do whiteboard we have hanging up in the shed. A bit hard to see in the above photo, but the paper tacked on the cork board is our Veg Map to remind us of what variety is planted where. Sowing and planting dates also included…
It may seem a bit much, but it is interesting to see just how quick and slow some things are coming along. Timing really is everything when it comes to veg growing. My parents are flying over from Canada in early September and I really want the plot to be in peak production when they get here. I find myself urging the sweetcorn to hurry up and attempting to cajole the French beans to slow down a bit!
I’m amazed at how much we’ve done in less than a year and I’m looking forward to showing it to my parents in person. It’s been a mere nine months, we’re still very much on the steep learning curve and I’m already think of how to better use the plot next year. Getting things started earlier definitely has got to be part of that. Also, get myself a much bigger weeding bucket.
Things are coming along beautifully at the allotment. Broad beans finishing up just as the first sowing of French beans have gone into full swing. I must confess I much prefer French beans and am getting a bit tired of broad beans. I find them rather bland compared to other beans. Maybe I just need to expand my cooking repertoire with them.
Squashes are coming along well too, even picked a few summer squashes. Added into a fantastic Sunday roast on the weekend. Eagerly awaiting the teeny tiny courgettes to grow so I can get started on those as well.
Lovely Patty Pan Squashes
Chopped all the potato foliage down as it was getting terrible blight. The taters themselves have been coming up just fine though, not a massive haul due to a nearly sun-free few months, but perfectly tasty.
Wee potato harvest
Got lots of weeding done, everything looking very tidy indeed. I just keep uncovering a gawd awful number of ants’ nests. Massive ones too.
Any suggestions for dealing with them!?
While we do get our fair share of human visitors, it’s the non-human visitors I get really excited about. Whenever I’m there enjoying some peace and quiet on my own, I’m never really alone.
I often lose time watching the bees, following the beetles scuttling across the beds or trying to identify all the different birds I see. Even yesterday, I had to pause with the watering to scoop out a frog that had gotten trapped in the water cistern. As it hopped off into the tall grass, I realised I should have re-homed it under the comfrey patch, where there’s millions of slugs hiding.
Speaking of slugs, fifteen minutes of hand picking though the ornamental beds yielded nearly a half bucket of slugs…yum. Also, I never realised how much noise is emitted from a bucket of slugs. Lots of popping, slopping and the occasional plop.
So far my favourite visitor has been our own Allotment Fox. Obviously very young, a year at most, it was often spotted trotting though the plots, following along as I pushed my wheelbarrow up to the green waste bins. Recently, I was working away when I saw it standing only a few meters away from me. I then noticed that most of its tail was missing and it looked like it was a very recent injury. I could tell it was in pain and worried that it had/could become severely infected. Yesterday, I found out the RSPCA had managed to trap it and I hope it got some basic veterinary care before being released. I was sorry to hear they had been asked to relocate it, I do miss the foxy company, even if it did pee on my fleece tunnels…
There are things other than slugs and foxes of course, even rumours of badgers, but in the meantime here’s a sampling of all the life that can be found on the allotment.
(Another fantastic video from Scott)