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Who Needs an Allotment?

July 13, 2014

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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.

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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.

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This week the flowers in a simple glass jar are white cosmos with the green flowers of  Alchemilla mollis.

 

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 16, 2014 9:56 am

    I’m just wondering whether we’ll be giving up our plot at the end of the year. We’re thinking of moving and we hoping to get somewhere with a slightly bigger garden but I’ll miss my plot so much…. Love the white cosmos. I didn’t do any this year and I’m missing them.

    • July 16, 2014 10:21 am

      Yes there’€™s something very special about an allotment. Tending it and improving the soil feels like being the temporary custodian of a much bigger landscape- it’€™s a piece of planet earth that I don’€™t own but that provides me with food. Also I like the discipline of working there without the distraction of coming in to send an email or to wash the kitchen floor (not that I do much of the latter).

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