We’re soon reaching the first birthday of the day we took on the other half of the allotment. We’d been waiting for it for over a year during which it fell into ever greater disrepair, and broadcasting its weed seeds over the entire area. The previous tenant, although he’d completely lost control of it was strangely unwilling to let it go and so we had a number of ‘Uncle Jim’ moments with him including a couple of larcenous visits before he finally disappeared. That meant we were completely preoccupied with getting the ground cleared, at the expense of planting. Ground was dug and planted up as fast as possible with no time to prepare the soil properly. We just needed to get it covered – which we did before the exceptionally long, cold and wet winter set in.
Grazing, let’s not call it thieving, is a bit of a problem for all of us. There are a couple of well-known grazers on the site and they’ve been known to strip the figs off the adjoining allotment and as for grapes …. no-one is safe from their predations. Luckily we’d picked as many as we could cope with, but it was annoying to see that they’d been on our plot and stripped off the ones that were left, tearing leaves and stalks off in their haste, and leaving them littering the ground.
But there we go, that’s the way it goes and all we can do is discourage them as politely as possible – life’s too short. But this summer we’ve caught up and it was delightful to plant the garlic today having prepared the beds thoroughly. This year we’ve planted three varieties, with a fourth on the way. We hope we can discover what grows best in our soil as well as tastes good. Considering I’d never even tasted garlic until I was 21 and married, it was amusing to be planting three long rows of the plant. It’s a good sign of the changing food culture.