Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Taking Stock

"Harvest is ended and summer is gone." quoted Anne Shirley, gazing across the shorn fields dreamily."

Runner beans, a last perfect cucumber from the greenhouse, a tomato and two courgettes eagerly watched over for there was no glut here.

A slow allotment year to begin. Late frosts and miserable temperatures that stubbornly refused to rise, soil so water logged that seeds simply rotted away and those that didn't were secreted away by tiny paws. Spinach alone required furrow browed, stubborn tenacity and multiple plantings only to eek out a miserly first crop. It was whispered that even Billy's carrots failed, despite his mystical defenses against the carrot fly's predacious wickedness!

Fruit trees bore little or no fruit as our tiny winged pollinators were housebound for fear of the battering torrents. Discovery apples, a short seasoned delight, sadly were unsighted.

But there were companionable lunches of oatcakes and peanut butter, bowls of warm fragrant strawberries, little piles of baby broad beans and a curly soft lettuce or two. Raised up to the memorable by a miniature bottle of olive olive oil carried here in a pocket, a sprinkling wrap of salt and pepper and a scatter of hand picked flat leaf parsley. Sometimes to be had on the patch of contentious-snail-friendly-wasted-use but to my mind luxurious and verdant grass. Sometimes in the cosy south facing warmth of the shed, listening to the seemingly omnipotent rain.

A new year marked out and finished. Beginnings, endings, starts and finishes; sprouts, seedlings and pottings on; harvests and double digging. Manure.

Over a cup of tea we muse. The autumn on an allotment, the close of another growing year is comforting in so much as its not the end. It is simply prep, fate being generous, for another year. With our beds dug and turned over, like flipping the mattress, plans and dreams can begin. Sitting in my ancient, horse hair stuffed, arthritically creaking but enveloping armchair, poring over Herb and Vegetable Expert with a cup of tea is a sweet waste of time.

I note 'plant what you want to eat, NOT what you can grow'. For truly, there are only so many radishes a girl can eat. And 'Beetroot. What happened? Why didn't it grow?' Hastily followed by 'PIck the runner beans before they bulge' for they taste best before they resemble those in the supermarket. Who knew...? Not me.

Next year:

Little gems
Moroccan mint (for summer teas)
Beetroot (again)
A few radishes
Butternut Squash
Potatoes (new and main crop)

....sigh. It's the possibilities that make life so rich, don't you think?


menopausalmusing said...

Glad you are not down about it. It has been a truly awful year for growing stuff. We have had no plums or greengages, some apple trees with nothing at all, and beans that have been dessimated by deer. We have had leek moth, carrot fly and asparagus beetle (sounds like a firm of solicitors!). However, like you, we are planning next year! :O)))

Mrs B said...

You see it gives me comfort that I am not alone! That it's not just my rookie ways :-)) what an awful year!! Tho strawbs were lovely till the rain started making Marvellous mould!! Onwards and upwards hey?! Xx

menopausalmusing said...

Now the nights are drawing in you could perhaps knit one of these for next year:

(The most lovely of blogs and amazing designs from someone who has overcome a huge health issue).

::cupcakesandbiscuits:: said...

Not a veg grower but my plants in the garden suffered from late frosts, constant rain and early frosts (in August FFS?!).
Oh well, Autumn is here and it's a lovely time to knit socks and kick leaves in the park.

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