Seasonal thoughts

One of the things I love about the allotment, and there are many, is that it really links me to the seasons.

I love the fact that in the spring that taste of the first asparagus reminds me that it is getting warmer even if it isn’t. But it isn’t just the foods, although moving from the summer glut of runner beans, courgettes tomatoes and salads to the first thoughts of roast roots and baked potatoes and warming comfort soups is permanently linked in my mind to the lighting of fires and walks in the frosty woods.

The summer brings the watering and weeding along with the fantastic glut of peas, beans, summer carrot and new potatoes and the long warm evenings (if we’re lucky) and the smells of cut grass and roses.

The preserving of the summer foods, making jams and chutneys, pickles and bottled fruit, leads nicely into fleeces and jumpers and the Community Apple Day and tidying the plot for winter.

So I’m just about to plant the broad bean seeds before it gets too cold and the planting of seeds makes me feel optimistic at any time, then I’ll eat the squashes and celeriac that are just coming ready with stewed apple and custard to follow. And it all feels so right.

So even though the winter evenings aren’t far away, a glass of mulled wine makes up for digging the frosty ground for the carrots and parsnips and there are always the plans for next years crops when Christmas is over.

 

 

Spring

Spring is here and once again it has taken me by surprise – so much to do all of a sudden. Having said that, this time of year I can’t spend enough time outside after the winter. So the pruning has been done and the onions sets are in …..and it stops there, I’m very late with the broad beans but I’m sure they will catch up when the sun comes out. I have gone overboard I think with the tomatoes again, I can’t help but try all the different new and heritage seeds and I really look forward to enjoying them on those hot summer days to come. Some of these are variteies that are only found at seed swaps such as Purple Cherokee a lovely juicy beef tomato and Clear Pink Early a large sweet variety.
With the warnings of a drought this year I am reconsidering some of the things I plant or how I plant them. I stopped planting annual flowers years ago as they take up too much water so, apart from sweet peas, which I can’t resist, the hardy perennials that have shown they can withstand dry summers are the ones to choose. I love runner bean and courgettes but they do love a lot of water so I’m preparing their beds with a load of water absorbent mulch, paper and feathers (my dad always put a couple of old pillows in the runner bean bed) and any thing else to help hold the water and hopefully reduce the watering later.
Meanwhile I am checking regularly for the asparagus to pop up …..