As my wife will tell you, I love Christmas. Thankfully, for her, I don’t let the festivities takeover until December. Even though it’s only November, homes across the land are under invasion by the ever-fattening Christmas marketing monster, feeding on people’s idea of Christmas. It manipulates their hopes, turning it into something commercial and grotesque and before you have time to question its morals, it starts to gather momentum and lashes out with expensively shot commercials telling us, our lives are incomplete without the latest David Beckham beard conditioner: ‘Put this on your whiskers and you too will have the bearded prowess of a puma’. You barely have enough time to reach for the eggnog when he strikes you again with a semi-acoustic cover track, pulling on heartstrings and encouraging us to part with our hard-earned pennies at the huge, souless department store. And just when you can’t take anymore, he wheels out the big guns: the X Factor Christmas single. Simon Cowell, touting the wares of naive singers to line his pockets with silver and taking whatever Christmas spirit there was and putting a price tag on it.
But thankfully, there are many of us out here who are already wise to this annual brainwiping, and we have held onto what really matters. So whilst some will bathe in the musk of David Beckham on the big day, for the first time ever, I’m wishing for a home-grown Christmas dinner! Which is why at the moment, I’m keeping my brassicas, carrots, and parsnips under close scrutiny.
I know at some point the frost will come, and I’m willing it to. A sharp frost will work wonders to enhance the flavours of both my swede and sprouts. But until the frost arrives I’ll continue to weed and remove any unwanted freeloaders trying to get a meal out of my festive crops.
Talking to a newbie plotholder recently, she was concerned her garlic was already sprouting up through the soil. ‘I’m sure on the packet it said they won’t start growing until spring?’ Fear not fair maiden, I’ve been growing garlic for a good few years now and every autumn, whether it’s mild or cold, they always start to emerge this season. This has no negative affect on the final crop, so if there are shoots peeking through, enjoy their colour and take heart that your garlic are happy in their beds.
Finally, much to my reluctance, I actually got around to clearing my up shed on the allotment. At this time of year the day is short, so whatever time I get on the plot, I want to spend it tending crops, mulching and other soil related tasks. To clean my shed, well, it’s not the most ‘rock n roll’ part of gardening. However, with a clean shed I have reclaimed the space for my kettle and stove.
So if you’re around, feel free to stop by for a cuppa and a natter about all things horticulture. Just so you know, there’s a baker at the end of the road that makes wonderful doughnuts, if you want to bring a few of them.. Well, who am I to argue.