Hooray we have an allotment! But is it going to really entertain our pre-schooler long enough for us to clear the ghosts of holders past over the next few seasons, as well as grow some veggies, many of which he doesn’t like! What happens when the slugs dry up, the worms wriggle and hide in fear of being stuffed in a pocket and taken home? Here’s our little plan of growing the seed of love for allotment visits including some of the vegetables Little A does enjoy:
- Identify and create a nickname for our little tree
- Map the songbirds’ song and learn to identify robins, blackbirds and blue-tits
- Enjoy making pies in the mud kitchen
- Paint stones so the plant fairies don’t get their feet dirty when visiting
- Make a coconut bird feeder and hang from our tree
- Choose flowers for the Bee Garden
- Grow a Borlotti Bean Tepee
- Bloom a lavender divider
- Tend our sweet tomato treasure trove
- Cultivate a corn mini maze
We waited a mere 3.5 months to get our allotment and I finally feel all those hours spent studying my neighbours in Abruzzo Italy tending their orticello (vegetable garden) may finally get a workout.
Hopefully over the coming seasons we’ll grow vegetables from heritage and heirloom seeds, enjoy sniffing them as they grow in our attempt to recapture some of the admirable flavours that we got so used to buying in Italy.
Vegetables with character didn’t just come about from Abruzzo just being a sunnier clime, it’s a mountainous region so they have plenty of snow too, but what is sold in the smaller local markets
is seasonal and more often than not grown by local smallholders so veggies with zero or extremely low food miles. For that reason they could be picked when mature instead of them spending their formative lives in a refrigerated container that zapped any depth and sweet life & soul from the possible flavours.
Sat by the chalky River Ver (hence the old Roman name for St Albans being Verulamium), our allotments have been going for 70 years next to Sopwell Nunnery Ruins. I would love to have met the former plot holders of 60b, I admire the bamboo that she/he planted ready to cut for canes, the higgledy piggledy cloche made from old windows and ask if all the strawberry plants which are still thriving produced sweet and juicy fruits. Did he or she plant the little tree that has already given Little A a higher vantage point and, before setting out with a tape measure, what size the cracked glass is that we need to replace in the greenhouse!
I am looking forward to cultivating our five-a-day; it will mean that we are investing in the land, cutting back to a bare minimum the chemicals ingested when we don’t have the funds to buy organic at a local farmer’s market, as well as encouraging fresh air sanity away from my laptop and replacing the ping of emails with the gentle buzz of bees.