Saturday, 6 February 2010

the joy of muck



Well, now that the snow has melted and Manchester has warmed up a little, I have been back to the allotment after a month of nothing.

It's been good to get back to it. Last weekend I went down there both days. On Saturday, I spent just short of 6 hours drinking tea, untangling netting, turning a car tyre inside out to make a plant pot (mostly done actually by two fellow allotmenteers), digging, pulling out spaghetti like bindweed roots, composting, taking photos of coldframes to get inspiration for when I build mine, chatting... It was a wonderful allotment clear blue sky day and I was utterly mucky and EXHAUSTED when I got home. But, oh, did I deserve the lovely hot soak in the bath when I got in. I tell you, a bath is so much more enjoyable when you're covered in muck, and with aching muscles...

I went down on Sunday as well, but not for long. I was digging out weeds in my raspberry/blackcurrant patch. Only it was a bit wet (yes more than mucky again), and then I broke my specs.... and today, I went for an hour or so, and shovelled top soil into wheelbarrows to fill up one of my raised beds, and cut back my raspberry canes (a little late maybe, but better late than never).

I only have half an allotment, not sure how many square metres or yards it is. I will get back to you on that one. I have about half of my plot in a fit state to plant or grow. perhaps a little less than half. I drew out a little plan this week, trying to work out what I might grow. I have one patch where I'm going to grow potatoes and some beetroots, maybe parsnips. Another patch where all my fruit is (or will be when I sort out some strawberries). And a small patch for onions, garlic and shallots. I already have some globe artichokes growing. Then I have two raised beds... where I want to plant all kinds of things, and I know I can't grow everything, so I've been going through seed catalogues and browsing at Hulme Community garden centre, trying to decide what I like the most...

so far on my list... courgettes, french beans, leeks, sugar snap peas, sweetcorn perhaps, purple sprouting brocolli, savoy cabbage, kale, pak choi, squash, spinach and salad leaves, hmmm

over-ambitious for such an as yet small space. I need to whittle this list down, because I also want to grow herbs... salad things... and flowers... Ha!

I'm intending to be organic if possible, but am not 100% strict about this... and I have been reading about companion planting... ie planting flowers etc that encourage bees, distract birds, and discourage pests... so maybe sunflowers, marigolds, geraniums, nasturtiums, comfrey...

oh, the list goes on.

It's only my first year, so I need to tone things down a lot, and focus on just a few things. I still have half my allotment to dig over, get rid of weeds etc. I want to build a cold frame using some scaffold planks and some old windows (and I'm not well known for being miss practical DIY). I still have bloody loads of jeruselem artichokes to dig up, and weeds to compost, and paths to sort out...

I might do different things from the ones I have in my mind at the moment...

But, I like it. I like having a project. I like getting mucky and tired. I like the others on our allotment site, who chat and say hi, and offer advice, and make tea, and help out with wheelbarrows of horse shit, or lend me a rake or just make me laugh. There's a really nice feel to the place, and it's grounding for me, stops me thinking and gets me doing, gets me out of my head, and hopefully I might even have some veggies at some point to show for all the hours I put in...!

hurray for getting mucky...

6 comments:

Nik Perring said...

Hooray for much=k, indeed!

sonia said...

sounds like a perfect day. some people say to grow sweetcorn beans and squash together. sweetcorn provides support for beans some info here on this and other companion planting
http://www.growveg.com/growguides/companion-planting.aspx
I've never tried it but it sounds like a way to make better use of space.

annie clarkson said...

Thanks for the link Sonia, yes I want to grow sweetcorn, beans and squash together, it's a Nstive American thing apparently..!

Nik Perring said...

Bloody typos! Sorry! You know what I meant! X

Megan said...

Sounds brilliant Annie.
Wishing you a lovely, dirty Sunday

sonia said...

Annie this ezine is interested in poetic prose - you prob already know about it but just in case ....
http://ink-sweat-and-tears.blogharbor.com/
Please ignore if not interested. Too snowy here for allotment