Planting the remainder of the beds, those that are not raised, is the main priority. Peas will be planted in succession for a short period to stagger the harvesting time. I am thinking about where to plant the sweet corn, probably just near the raised beds. Sweet corn is a bit of a quandary. I like corn on the cob, and have had some success, but not every cob produces a full complement of seeds in our climate. Corn is a warm weather crop, and we are not in a warm climate. I would like to grow it in greenhouses, but it is wind pollinated and so needs exposure to moving air, otherwise the pollination does not happen. Cauliflowers are a favourite vegetable with me, and so some will be laid down when the weather warms up, along with kale, which resists slugs well. Protecting the cauliflowers against the ever-predatory wood pigeons is urgent, as these little beasts gobble the heart out of a cauliflower.
I need to plant up the greenhouse, but it is a matter of timing. Too early a planting can result in disaster, if a late frost destroys the crop. Tomatoes can be turned to black mush by a simple frost. It has happened to me once before. I need to spruce up the greenhouse, tightening bolts after winter, before I plant.
There is a small greenhouse to be erected. Andrew, my horticulturalist son, will help me. His fiance [due to be his wife in June] is off to her native Portugal to see her mother, who is too unwell to attend the wedding, and so Andrew will be alone. It is good to have a thirty three year old helping with any digging, though it brings home forcefully to me that I am in my mid sixties and slowing down, but still very fit for my age.
But as an allotment committee member [vice chair] I cannot guarantee being able to work undisturbed. The ever-busy and wonderful secretary, Barbara, sometimes comes to discuss an issue, such as the vandalism of the neighbouring greenhouse. Moreover, I have just been elected to the area committee [Urmston Allotment and Garden Society.] Official role, site representative; unofficially, trouble shooter, sent to resolve issues in the most peaceful way possible. You may be surprised that the grumpy individualists who till allotments can be quite quarrelsome sometimes.
You have had a glimpse into the life of a plot holder on a small, but friendly allotment site.The council allotments officer likes our site, because we never give her any trouble. We are short of space and money, though Barbara is a Godsend, as she busies herself trying to obtain grants and hold events. We won an award last year for progress made. This year we want best allotment site in Trafford. It's a hard task, but we live in hope.
I had better work on that flowerbed!
All photographs were taken by Frank Beswick