Life dried off a little for December and I managed to get down to the plot quite a few times.
The grotty dark nights resulted in a couple of torchlit digging sessions but I also found myself shamed into a day of weeding after passing by on the train and noticing the big blocks off lush green weeds where the onions were supposed to be thriving.
The chard is still dazzling passers by with its jazzy, party coloured, stems. I think the pink is particularly fetching but the orange doesn’t seem to withstand the frost as well as the other shades.
There’s been quite a lot of frost already which has probably sweetened up my swedes and done wonders for the brussels. The bracing wind doesn’t have a lot going for it though, it has shredded my polythene greenhouse and although I’ve patched it up and folded it away in the shed, I don’t hold out much hope for it lasting another season. I hope Wilkinsons survive the economic downturn at least until the summer, so that I can buy another one.
The wind also lifted a big patch of felt off my shed roof but fortunately Lynn is a roofer par excellence and shimmied up on top and sorted the job out with style. Given the number of nails used, there is not a chance that it will be shifting again, it’ll stand up to hurricane Katrina should it need to.
I rose early enough today to make a quick detour to the plot to source a traditional array of Christmas dinner delights. The carrots may have been merely bite-sized but the parsnips have got to be world-record challengers. I got so carried away that I dug an entire bed of them. That should make for a fun festive period as no-one else seems to like parsnips. Maybe they’ll change their minds after I’ve made them endure a succession of parsnippy dishes: roast parsnip; parsnip, ginger and garlic soup; curried parsnip soup; parsnip cakes with borlotti bean and garlic sauce – need I go on?
I struggled to carry the freshly dug roots home along with enough spuds to feed 10 but it all proved worthwhile in the end. I was proud as punch to see my hard grown purple sprouts being force fed to the children amongst screams of “yuk” and “don’t make me”. I also spotted a number of semi-gnawed purple orbs being slipped to the dog under the table. I was tempted to follow suit myself actually, I’m not really keen on the purple ones, they are a bit peppery and not sprout-like enough for my liking. I’ll have a field of green ones next year though, so I hope that dog does actually like them.
It was good to note that the mushroom logs that I prepared last Christmas have actually started to show signs of activity. They don’t look exactly appetising but I think the oyster mushroom may be about to blossom.
October and November were such washout months that I hardly got to the plot at all. When I did go down, the place seemed just a little too grim for photography and so here I am, left with a tiny handful of snaps with which to rustle up a double “month in pictures” montage.
The winter roots were a success and I did manage to get a few bean and flower seeds to dry off enough for storage before the deluge came and never went.
I’ve been finding it difficult to find the time to get down to the plot recently, but faced with the prospect of yet another meal of tinned mushroom soup, I thought the time had come to rescue some of the remaining winter roots.
Armed with 4 high power bike torches I headed down to the allotment to spook myself in the gloaming.
My helmet lamp is quite bright so I left it on to dig amongst the carrot beds and for ferreting amongst the brocolli in search of early shoots.
My tea is looking more promising tonight.