Who Needs an Allotment?
In a sunny courtyard garden in the centre of the city these two raised triangular beds measuring 175cms x 175cms x 175cms and 40cms deep are bursting with healthy produce. Immaculate rows of Red Choi, Mizuna Waido, spring onions, peas, spinach, lettuce and fennel rub shoulders with beetroot, courgette and runner beans. The beans are supported on rustic poles and are positioned along one side to provide dappled shade to one of the beds. It’s an awesome amount of produce from such a small space and it’s weed free and lusciously healthy.
But of course an allotment offers much greater opportunities. If there’s space a large patch of new potatoes for summer salads can sit along side a late crop of potatoes for Christmas lunch. Rows of onions and garlic, lots of broad beans, runner and borlotti beans, beetroot, salad leaves and Swiss chard etc etc can keep you in produce for many months. And of course there will be space for repeat sowings of most of the above and this will extend the season even longer. There’s usually room for soft fruit such as blackcurrants, gooseberries, strawberries and raspberries and late cropping winter squash followed by purple sprouting broccoli, cabbages, cauliflower and kale. So allotments offer great opportunities to be self-sufficient for much of the year. They also provide you with a calm environment to de-stress and a regime that keeps you fit and healthy and they are definitely worth the effort if you have the time and the energy.
Yesterday I picked for supper salad potatoes ‘Charlotte’ planted for their flavour and waxy yellow flesh, broad beans which I double podded for their bright green interiors and small courgettes which I griddled. This is my favourite courgette recipe you simply slice them thinly lengthways (the thickness of a pound coin) brush with olive oil then griddle to get the cross hatching colour and flavour. Sprinkle with sea salt and lemon juice and add chopped herbs-parsley was all I had in the garden here- and it was really delicious.
This week the flowers in a simple glass jar are white cosmos with the green flowers of Alchemilla mollis.