Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Allotment Photography

Looking at
perfectly executed gardening photos - I often tend to feel I'll never measure up. I'm sure novice gardeners share that feeling too. So here are photographs of a different - dare I say more realistic kind.

It's not necessarily vital that your your veg patch looks professional and pretty at all times is it? Of course it's a bonus if it does, and a beautiful layout comes with time and experience.

But most organic allotmenteers just want things to work. It's a different aesthetic isn't it? First in the series of (definitely not airbrushed) less-than-perfect-looking-but-very-productive-fruit-and-veg-patch-photographs are the leeks. We haven't started harvesting these yet but we have many more than last year. So that's great. The leeks in this picture could have done with more rain and/or watering. I could have got them started earlier too.

We do have larger ones on the plot. These specimens in the next picture (on the right) are nearly ready to harvest.

The asparagus patch is one of our greatest gardening achievements so far. This is a not-particularly-impressive picture. Practically speaking, the plants are really healthy and sound. For the first time (in June next year) we'll be looking forward to harvesting organically grown asparagus spears. In this picture you might think the couch grass at the side is encroaching on the raised bed, but actually I dug a small trench to keep it away which is very effective as the couch grass doesn't cross it.

My mother told me that my grandfather (who had several allotments) hardly even used to water his. I try to adopt the same approach. Otherwise it is way too much work for us. I've got used to planting just before it rains and nurturing the soil so that it retains water for a long time. I also make extensive use of mulches. Which brings me to our next picture:

Not exactly neat and tidy but very effective on the scale of things as well as being ecologically sound. Here is a slightly raised simple bed edged with cardboard boxes (from mail order goods) and topped with wood chippings from our communal heap on the allotment site The advantage of this technique is it gives the worms a place to hide out (underneath the cardboard) and escape the winter chills.

I planted dwarf broad beans in this space at the weekend. Bare rooted raspberries went in next door to these. More onions and garlic can wait until November.

Last but not least the strawberries. These are recently transplanted - they didn't do so well in the old water butt where they were before as it was difficult to provide them with enough water.

They're looking a bit tatty - but as you can see they're fruiting in October - I'll give them a bit of TLC and they'll be in good shape for next year.

Really glad to say that I won't be buying any more organic slug pellets. Our froglets must have done very well and I saw a juvenile in early autumn - so hoping they'll do the slug patrol for us next year. It's great to see so many spiders and ground beetles too.

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