Jack Frost has been running amok over our fair lands these last few days. With temperatures dancing around the zero mark, there’s been a lot of jumper-wearing and hot drinks up on the plot. I’ve probably told you before, I’m a man who likes his seasons, and with the soil turning solid due to the weather, I’m jumping with glee. A cold snap killing off those unwanted pests means less critters nibbling at my tender crops later this year. ‘Bring it on Jack!’ I yell like a loon as I hop and skip across the frozen allotment!But it hasn’t all been singing and dancing up at the allotment this week. I’ve been busy, splitting our compost bin in two. Topping up one side with fresh manure, the other side is the remains of the old manure that, up until two weeks ago, had been composting for nearly a year. I’m also going to lose a path by knocking two plots into one and plant my early potatoes in there. The plot furthest away has always had a bit of an issue with its soil, it’s very heavy, so by turning it into a larger space, the moisture has a bigger area to disperse, and a crop of potatoes will help clean the soil. I’ve also put a layer of manure over the top to improve the soil structure.
Meanwhile, back at Agents of Field HQ, once again I’ve laid claim to the various windowledges with my trays of pepper, chilli and aubergine seeds. But before Agent Soph turns an icy white, fearful of having to deal with excessive crops later this year, I’ve already assured her that a lot of these young plants will go to family, friends and neighbours. (As well as the polytunnel. Sshhh! What she doesn’t know won’t upset her!)
But we’re firmly into the new year, there are daffodils poking through and I’m already chitting my tatties. Two varieties this spring: Kestrel and Kidney. After last year’s potato success, I was thoroughly impressed with Kestrel. Not just for the taste and its firm structure, but because it didn’t succumb to any pests, diseases or scab.
So despite the frost, it’s been a busy week and I’m looking forward to it getting busier. Although we’ve still got a long way to go before the joys of spring, already the days seem a little longer and the sun is hanging around past its bedtime.