Back in December I made the decision that this year I was going to completely redesign my allotment. Though I was fairly happy with the general layout, the plot had a certain slant to it that wasn’t pleasing to my overly critical eye. I was certain that if I re-dug the whole plot that I would be able to at least partly correct this slope and increase the aesthetic beauty of my little piece of land.
I knew that this would be a mammoth task, but I was prepared for the work. I started in early February, confident that I would be finished in plenty of time to begin planting in mid March. Of course, what I wasn’t banking on was the weather! I was expecting a few cold spells or wet, rainy days but being on the South Coast, what I was not expecting was nearly two full weeks of snowfall. When the now infamous “Beast From The East” first hit, I wasn’t worried. I was expecting a day or two’s delay at most and I was far too excited at the prospect of actually having snow that had settled for the first time in years.
However, as the snowy weather dragged on for the best part of a week, I started to get concerned at just how much I had left to get done. When the snowy weather then returned a couple of weeks later, I really started to panic! I was definitely running out of time.
Fast forward to today, the 27th March and I have finally just finished digging over the plot. While I am relieved that it is now completed (and yes, definitely more level than it was!) I did make the mistake of reviewing my Instagram photos from this time last year. What a difference! Last year I already had onions, potatoes, carrots, spinach and lettuce sowed and the allotment was alive with the signs of spring. This year the only signs of life on the plot are the Tulips which I planted in a wooden planter at the end of last year.
To give a visual illustration of my concerns, these two photos were taken on the 2nd April 2017:
Although there is not a whole lot going on on the plot, you can see my onions just starting to sprout in the wooden planter, with the spinach growing in the cloche just in front of them. There is also garlic growing in the wooden beds and a bean frame towards the centre of the plot. To the front of the bean frame is a small salad bed where varieties of lettuce had already been sown. The strawberry frame sits opposite the newly planted potatoes towards the end of the plot.
In contrast, this is what my plot looks like on the 27th March 2018, so just a few days short of the year anniversary of the first two pictures:
Eagle eyed readers out there will note that the two pictures are different. I took the first in the early afternoon on 27th March and I then did a little further work on the plot, moving the wooden planters back into place and adding the cloches to warm the soil a little before taking the second picture before I left the plot that evening. Unfortunately, this does not detract from the fact that the only things currently growing in my allotment are strawberries and tulips – not quite as impressive as last years images!
I am not going to lie, I am concerned at how behind I am. The only saving grace is that it seems I am not the only one. I read a lot of other allotment blogs and watch a few fellow allotmenteers on Youtube and it appears that this rather extraordinary start to the year has delayed most of us. Nearly every fellow plotter that I follow is echoing my own cries of “I’m so behind” and “I can’t believe it’s already nearly April”.
The one thing I am sure of is that I have worked so hard in turning my plot around that I am not going to let it all go wrong now! This weekend it is Easter and though I am seeing family on the Friday and working on the Saturday, I do have Easter Sunday all to myself. I am praying for good weather so that I can get out into the allotment and spend a whole, wonderfully laid back day catching up on lost time and finally getting some of those long overdue for planting seeds sown.