Slow allotment gardening in the life of a busy family
Wednesday, 13 May 2009
Nothing sweeter than a May evening at the plot? Yesterday evening's quick jaunt to the plot, which I expected to be balm after a fraught working day, turned out to be nothing of the sort. "Never construct", wrote one of the French dudes I wrote my thesis on. Gustave, you were right.
For a start, it was bitterly cold, that bone-chilling cold peculiar to the East coast of Scotland in May (and June and...). We were muffled up to the ears in anoraks and wished we'd worn gloves. We found the grass verges and 'lawn areas' of the plot romping away - well, we'd expected that after two weekends away, but all the same it looked unkempt. We met another plotholder whom my husband knows from church, and her news was all about her husband's stay in hospital and his declining strength. We looked around the plot and knew we had no time to do anything much, but could see so much that needed doing. I hoed between the shallots and onions. I walked to the gate and back with a distraught plotholder who had lost his keys to the site and couldn't otherwise get out. The bitter wind blew.
We stared glumly at the raspberries, and decided to cut our losses with the row that hasn't come through this year. And then we saw a potato plant that hadn't been there two weeks ago, with what looked suspiciously like blighted leaves. And then I noticed that our new season's crop, just peeking through, was also looking rather nasty about the leaves.
We dug out the rogue plant, but left the others for the time being. After checking in my Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening, I now wish we'd dug them up too, or at least taken off the affected leaves. It seems that rogue potatoes from a previous year's crop (or 'volunteers' as they're known) are a prime source of blight. I'll have to see if I can steal time to get along to the plot tomorrow evening to whip out the three plants that are affected.
Good news? Well, I got a special offer on pot-grown raspberries from Ken Muir, and ordered a replacement six canes. They're a variety called 'Tulameen', named after a community in British Columbia. This pleases me a lot! Apparently they come through late each year, so are less susceptible to frost, and are pretty winter hardy, having been bred in BC.