New Year Visit to the Allotment

Yesterday I went to the lottie, the sun was shining which was a lovely break from the heavy rain and damaging winds that have been hanging around lately, surprise surprise much the same today. After spending a couple of hours hand weeding and generally mooching about (as you do), I sat on our bench made from tree logs by the shed and enjoyed my sandwiches in the warm sunshine. It was so lovely I didn’t need to put my coat on. Looking around at my surroundings, my plot and others look as if they’re trying to wake up already.

broad bean plants

Broad bean plants growing happily in what was the pumpkin patch during summer.

Growing happily in the strawberry bed and pumpkin patch (the latter a tangled mushy mess) are broad bean plants. Probably the result of rodent or bird activities, I didn’t plant them but if I had they certainly wouldn’t survive to this stage (I don’t have much luck starting broad beans in autumn!). One plant is flowering. Will I be picking broad beans soon? I wonder….

Flowering broad beans in January!

Flowering broad beans in January!

I noticed Calendula ‘Flashback Mix’ flowering by the allotment shed, colourful small flowers entwined with grey skeleton stems left over from summer. We’ve seen just one hard frost so far this winter, obviously not enough to wipe these cheery little flowers out completely.

Calendula flowers hanging on in January

Calendula flowers hanging on in January

Remember the garlic I planted recently? Well, they’re poking through the soil already, soldiers standing to attention. The rhubarb patch is waking up too.

Timperley Early rhubarb beginning to grow in winter

Timperley Early rhubarb beginning to grow in winter

I’m a big fan of Timperley Early rhubarb, a super early variety great for forcing for an even earlier crop. I won’t lie, I was tempted to place my forcer over the crown but I’ll be patient and give my rhubarb another year to grow even stronger before inflicting greed and a terrible case of sweet tooth upon it.

Allotment Garlic

planting garlic

I popped to the allotment plot early this morning and was pleased to see the garlic growing well, just one clove failed to sprout which is great considering it was left unchecked until now due to being busy with a house move. Hard frost the year before forced our garlic cloves out of the ground and we had to replant the lot. I was worried the same may happen again and had visions of garlic cloves sitting on top of the soil!

garlic in march

We still have around 30 bulbs left from last summers harvest to munch our way through, they’re hanging in our garden greenhouse on wires. I think a few bulbs will be heading to our neighbour the next time we give him a box of eggs from our hens! Do you have an allotment? If so what are your growing plans this year?

I really want to grow a successful pumpkin at our plot this year!

My Favourite Variety of Garlic

The snow and ice are no more, melted away by yesterday’s gorgeous mild weather. While I was rooting around in the soil of my veg garden this morning (oh how I’ve missed being able to do that) I spotted the Cristo garlic that I planted back in November, pushing through the soil. Garlic needs a cold spell, this month has certainly been cold at times.

I’m hooked on Cristo for its taste and performance, at the moment it’s my favourite variety to grow.

 Do you have a favourite variety of garlic?

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