Now that we are well into our second year as allotmenteers, I can’t help but notice a smidgen of complacency has crept onto our plot. Last year – our first growing year – was filled with an almost childlike and perhaps slightly over enthusiastic sense of awe and wonder at our aptitude as growing, well, anything. Everything was new, and almost like new parents celebrating their offspring’s unparalleled accomplishments, the first of everything was a triumph – the first Strawberry delicious, the first Carrots so ‘carroty’, the first Apple blossom more beautiful than any, ever before, anywhere.
This year we are greedily wanting more. Comparisons are being made to before – ruminating over things that grew better then, that weren’t eaten by mice or pigeons, or that didn’t fail to thrive – expectations and disappointments are higher. Looking at the plot – and in the garden too – I’m ashamed to say I’ve been seeing a list of things to do, and overlooking the things that have been done, that have grown, that have become spectacularly lovely right under our noses. The heaps of Strawberries ripening in the newly extended bed, the Courgettes miraculously growing plump and ready to eat, the towers of purple Sweetpeas – even more than last year – starting to open, begging to be picked and fill the house with a heady scent.
As with everything in life, once the first ‘flush of love’ has gone, we can become complacent and stop truly seeing what is before our eyes. We can never regain the feeling of our ‘first’ times, but we can purposely try and be mindful on the plot and continue to experience it’s gifts with a sense of wonder and gratitude. We can stop, just for a moment, and use all of our senses to really look at things, rather than through things, and recapture the feeling of awe again.
In this spirit, we took home our first harvest of the year this week. It felt so good to return from the allotment with something other than the aforementioned dirty fingernails ! The Strawberries tasted deliciously sweet, and the solitary Courgette will be ceremoniously eaten over the next few days. As for the Sweetpeas, they are arranged in a jam jar on the windowsill. Mr O and I smell them every time we pass by. And you know, when I look at them – really stop and look at them – I do think they may be the most beautiful ones, ever before, anywhere.
Sown direct in June – Dwarf French Beans, Peas, Globe Artichokes, Carrots, Broccoli, Kale, Cauliflower, Swede, Beetroot, Radish, Mange Tout, Lettuce
Planted out in June – Dahlias, Geraniums, Marigolds, Cosmos, Dianthus, Zinnia, Tomatoes, Aubergine, Gherkins, Peppers, Courgettes, New Zealand Yams, Cucumber, Runner Beans
Harvested in June – Strawberries, Broad Beans, Courgette, Sweetpeas, Radish tops (for rabbits !)