Two for the Price of One

The 1st of March is here and what a day to arrive!  The sun was shining, jumpers were cast aside and the daffodils I planted in the allotment borders late last year were triumphantly trumpeting for St David’s Day!  So, not to waste the weather, I dug two new beds, filled drums with manure (these will be used for growing squash), and I also took some time out to watch the world go by from my new favourite perch. sit Collage

I’m sure this spring ‘apéritif’ won’t last and will quickly be replaced by the stroppy efforts of a rejected winter lashing out one last time before retreating north with his tail behind his legs to allow his gentle cousin spring to properly take up the mantle. poo Collage

But it has been a week of new arrivals as the polytunnel also turned up.  Much to Soph’s disbelief, and not wanting to rock the windowsill incident of 2015 any further, I should have warned her that a 30kg box nearly six foot high would be arriving.  Getting home late one night, I had to push my way into the house as the delivery man had left it in our doorway.  Crouched behind the package, like Cato from the Pink Panther movies, waiting to knock me out with one swift roundhouse kick was my wife, eager for an explanation.

I don’t know if this is something you have observed in your relationship, dear readers, but at this time of year as us gardeners monopolise windowsills with seed trays, fill the house with newly-delivered garden paraphernalia and generally dominate the house with all things growing, allotmenteering becomes a very singular experience.  ”He’s got his seeds on the windowsill”, ”Another garden delivery for him” and ”He’s always up to something on the plot”.

Yet a few months from now with all that hard work behind me, as the fruits of my labours hang ripe from the trees and the vegetables from those weed-free plots start emerging from their rich beds, the word ‘he’ is forgotten and in its place is a new word, a word that arrives with the warm weather, the late summer evenings and the growing organic bounty.. ‘we’.  ‘Look at what we have grown”, ”We have grown a lot of vegetables this year” and ”We have been working hard on the plot all year!”

But joking aside, on that winter’s morning when I’m digging those paths, in the coldest of downpours when I’m wheelbarrowing that muck, and in that moment when my back can’t handle another turn of the spade, I’m always appreciative of the person at home working hard to turn those vegetables into something creative and tasty.  On that afternoon when I forget to pack a lunch, it’s always a joy to discover someone’s left me a flask of homemade soup in my rucksack. And when I get home tired and covered in filth, it’s lovely to know a certain someone is always  waiting to hear of my plot adventures and to reward me with a cup of tea and a cuddle.

The allotment journey is like a rollercoaster ride, full of ups and downs, thrills and spills.  But like any ride, it’s a lot more fun when there’s two of you.  Not just ‘me’… but ‘us’.

Hapus Dydd Gŵyl Dewi!



Afternoon Delight

There were rumours, there was idle gossip, but Saturday proved to be a day not easily forgotten.

Could it be?

As I took a moment, stepped back and broke free from the evil tendrils of my archenemy, bindweed, I cast my eye across the patchwork of plots only to witness a miracle.  Allotmenteers gathered together in silence looking upwards in awe, pointing to the orange temptress that hung seductively in the sky, sharing her warmth.  The sun had returned!  Unannounced, her unashamed confidence would have people talking for days, all looking, all smiling, all basking in the glory of this long lost lady.  I’m not going to lie, I too was seduced by her charms.  It was then I had a moment of clarity, ‘This is my chance!’

Making a dash to the car, I quickly returned with our freshly delivered rhubarb crowns. I held them proudly.  Like the Emperor with his new clothes, my chin was high, my confidence brimming.  These were the jewels that would open shed doors, give me reputation and respect down at the allotment shop.  Even the most green-fingered would twitch with envy when they saw these treasures at their reddening peak.

Their bed lovingly prepared I gently tucked them in, threw a soiled blanket across their potential goodness and took stock.  This was my first vegetable to be planted in our little kingdom.  I had done it!  I had finally lost my allotment ‘cherry’.  I think it went well?  I took my time, made a note of their name and took the right precautions.  And when the deed was done, I didn’t skulk into the shadows, I sat alongside my three (yes, three!) newly laid companions and looked upon them fondly.  Stockbridge Arrow, Victoria and Polish Raspberry, you were my first and for that I shall always thank you.  And in the sky, my shining visitor continued to smile down on me.

I think this going to be the start of a beautiful friendship.