It’s getting colder out there! But I still love it. I write out my list of jobs and put the hard physical ones first so I warm up with half an hour of digging before I get round to planting bulbs.
Last week my very professional gardener friend Charlotte got me some narcissi bulbs – the pure white kind with deep orange centres (my absolute favourite) – which have been excitedly planted in my flower corner. Sainsburys – the only shop I go to in Lockdown – had some snowdrop and snakeshead fritillery bulbs which I couldn’t resist. They are also planted with much happiness and a lot of my newly discovered patience (which you can’t start an allotment in early winter without).
I am also very grateful to my allotmenteering friend Mel, who enthhusiastically furnished me with some onion sets when I told her I had an allotment. She explained they are good for planting this time of year. That was three weeks ago so the fact that I only just planted them may be a problem, but it is finally done. I haven’t seen any of my three plot mates for ages, but I see evidence of their work. And the neighbouring neatly dug plots that have been sitting empty for weeks are now suddenly full of proud rows of gorgeous little onion shoots. They got the timing right then.
Another wonderful friend Milly has put me in touch with her mum, a passionate allotmenteer, who has given me loads of advice, including the best place to buy seeds from, Kings. Having ordered the requisite carrots, leeks and broccoli for Spring, I treated myself to some seeds from the ‘edible flowers’ section, and now have three different variety of nasturtium to look forward to.
My final major recent achievement, as I have no actual crops of my own yet, was to forage some of the gorgeously green spiny leaves from the abundance of stinging nettles in the other overgrown corner. A recipe off the internet involving potatoes, garlic and onions (and a blender which I didn’t know Mr M had) was so easy to follow that we had a very nourishing and surprisingly delicious meal that I kept laughing at – ‘it’s made of stinging nettles!’ Partly surprise that it worked, and partly the sheer joy of eating something straight out of the garden that an hour earlier was determinedly stinging the bits of my wrists not protected by my cardigan-based hand coverings.
I am so grateful for my little oasis of soil and seclusion that my allotment provides, and I love watching it take its gradual shape.