When we began this adventure back in January, we never thought, in such a short period of time, just how happy allotment-keeping would make us. We’ve met some fantastic people, created some amazing recipes with our home-grown veg and out-seeded ourselves on the growing front! But whist we’ve enjoyed the dizzying heights of success, there’s also been the inevitable failures of pest attacks and losing a few veggies on the way.
But it’s all part of the learning curve and next year we’re hoping for bigger things as we plan ahead. But before we reveal our blueprint for 2015 global domination, we’ve withdrawn to the study to ask ourselves a few questions to help understand our journey to date.
In this first part, I’ll be pondering on all things ‘growing’, and in part two, Agent Sophie will be mulling over her culinary journey of the past year.
1. What have you learnt over the past year?
I knew I loved growing, but I never knew what a passion it would become. Not only do I have a garden and now two allotments, I am currently studying with the RHS. Where this will take me I’m not quite sure yet, however, it has changed my life and it’s re-shaping my future in a positive way.
2. What will you do differently next year?
I realise that vegetables need proper spacing to grow and succeed, so already I’m thinking about next year’s crops in spacing and rotation terms. We’ve taken on a second plot so this will help things and ease the congestion.
3. What was your biggest success?
The allotment itself. We took a piece of neglected land, landscaped it, mulched it, made beds and created an environment that would encourage wildlife to stop by and help our crops.
4. What was your biggest failure?
I would say that has to be the Brussels sprouts I’m currently growing. As they were a last minute decision, and with only a little space on the plot available, I crammed them into an already condensed plot. Although they have grown and there are sprouts emerging (just!), they have clearly been in the wars with other crops in a fight for nutrients and water. So although they should make an appearance at our Christmas dinner, blink and you’ll miss them!
5. What new thing will you try next year?
Again, as we have taken on a second plot adjacent to our first, this will again give me an opportunity to landscape and try the crop rotation method. Also, I shall be trying some new crops I’ve never grown before such as aubergines, celery and the dreaded cauliflower. (A sore point I will discuss at a later date!)
Finally, I’m in the process of creating an ‘experimental’ bed, not sure what for yet, but here I shall adopt the organic Dr Frankenstein persona as I go about bringing hope to newfound crops…. ‘IT’S ALIVE!’
So as we enjoy the festive season, and I warm myself by the fire with mulled wine and mince pies, I’m itching to action my plans, and with one eye on 2015 and more growing possibilities, the passion has never been stronger.