There are many things I’ve learned since ‘finding’ gardening.
Of most significance is how in tune with the environment I’ve become. Detecting both the slow intimate changes, and the explosion of them when they takes place.
Through January to April, change is gentle but not unnoticeable. Every visit to the plot brings with it signs of transformation. Leaves appear. Life is increasingly obvious. And sometimes it halts with those fickle and often dramatic fluctuations in the weather. But it is there and mostly it’s felt like a quiet hum of excitement.
Then there is May.
There is always one day during this month when I walk up to the allotment garden to be hit with a blaze of mixed emotion. It’s like the garden has (stupidly) guzzled back a pack of Red Bull overnight.
And mixed emotion is correct. There is the thrill of seeing an abundance of green poking through the soil and even for the early supply of the fruits of our labour. What a treat.
Spring Blush Mangetout peas begin to climb
First radishes, a few weeks after sowing
I waited patiently for the first crop of rhubarb
But there is also the horror of weeds. This is nature telling us you can’t have it both ways. You want growth? Well, you can have it. Warts and all.
The truth is, we should embrace this. Weeds are wondrous as well as frustrating as hell. The important point is accepting that they will grow and to learn how to manage them and make these plants less of a hindrance.
Mare’s Tail – A horror story? Not really.
In May there is a sudden change in gear on the plot. And I have to take a breath to keep up. The plants I’ve nursed in the pots under glass are now growing to the point of becoming a pain.
I tell myself we are almost past the danger of frost and soon the greenhouse can be cleared, plants put out in their beds and with that, the opportunity to sow more undercover ready for the autumn and winter harvests.
I passionately believe that allotment gardening should be accessible to everyone. A polytunnel is such a wonderful asset as it enables us to grow a wider variety of crops and also allows us to extend the season. And who doesn’t want to make those homegrown veggies last that little bit longer?
I’m doing this as I want to find out if it’s a potential option for those who feel left out of the opportunity to own a polytunnel because of the cost. I really want this to be a possibility.
I’ll write a full blog about this project as soon as it’s complete. But for the moment, although there’s been a bit of swearing and the odd steal pole hurled across the allotment, I’m cautiously positive about the results.
I’ve finally caught up with my monthly sowing and planting task list. The early spring provided us with a roller-coaster of ride weather wise which resulted in germination failures due to freezing temperatures, a wipe-out of seedlings from a heat wave in April and inevitable delays in sowing seeds.
But I’m back and just this week I’ve sown French Beans (Mamba), Sweetcorn (Incredible F1), Brussel sprouts (Brodie F1) and autumn cabbage.
Enjoy every moment of May. Look at how marvellous your garden is proving to be. Get excited and whatever you do, don’t beat yourself up with the bits you haven’t done or the weeds that are yet to be pulled. Soak it all in.
Now, remember what I said about the importance of other people’s stories? Well, let me know yours in the comments below.
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