Going away on holiday is always slightly trepidacious for allotmenteers. Left to their own devices for a week or fortnight, will the crops be alive or dead on our return ? Will we have a freak spell of hot weather, a flood, or a plague of pests which burns / drowns / eats the unpatrolled plants in our absence ?
It was with a sigh of relief that we tentatively returned to our plot this week, to find that not only had our crops survived, but a burst of rainy followed by sunny weather had caused them to grow hugely in a week, turning the allotment into a jungle of new growth (hurrah !) and weeds (not so hurrah).
What had the biggest growth spurt was our Peas, which are now flowering and have actual Peas on them ! We had to take down our chicken wire protection and reconfigure the patch as they had got rather out of control, mainly due to planting them too closely together in rookie enthusiasm. Our second batch of Peas were also ready for unveiling from their plastic cloche bottles, and we constructed cane supports and netting for them too.
On a different Pea front, we also planted out the second half of our Asparagus Peas into the big bed. It will be good to compare their progress with the ones growing in pots in our garden, to see which works best. Still in the garden, our Tomato plants have been planted into their final large pots, and not a moment too soon. They too are flowering and hopefully it’s not too late to get them potted on. We’ve placed them against the back wall of our house, which is the warmest and sunniest spot in the garden, and will be keeping everything crossed.
The Gherkin, Courgette and Squash plants which were being nursed in our garden were also finally ready to be planted out this week, looking rather sturdy and ready for the big wide world. Only one of each plant survived, despite multiple sowings and care, so we planted them together in one of our ‘tractor tyre’ raised beds. If we even get one piece of veg off them it will be an achievement !
As the saying goes, ‘a watched pot never boils’ and there is also something to be said for leaving an allotment to it’s own devices for a week or two. Yes, you’ll be faced with weeds and work on your return, but also the wonder of what Mother Nature quietly and so perfectly achieves on her own.