At last the allotment is planted up and we no longer have to water trays of produce or protect them from frost. Hopefully the delays caused by the poor weather won’t have damaged the plants too much but there is a chance that more crops will go to seed early because they have been slightly stressed.
Once planted our next concern is protection. The allotment is surrounded by fields so there is an abundance of wild life ready to have breakfast or supper at our expense. We have rabbits galore, the occasional deer, moles whose runs cause plants to collapse, mice, pigeons and of course slugs. It’s enough to make you want to throw in the towel but over the years we have mastered the art of protecting.
We have amassed a collection of plastic piping, mainly begged from skips or friendly plumbers which we place in arcs over the rows of vegetables, then cover with netting. Those crops which grow too tall for the piping have wooden stakes to hold up the netting. Bricks and stones hold the netting in place and are easily moved to pick crops or weed. We also use recycled plastic bottles cut into rings which help to protect individual plants.
The only creature we can’t protect from is Mr Slug. At the allotment we just have to grow sufficient for both them and us but we always grow our lettuce at home. Otherwise we would never eat any as slugs love lettuce the most.
We are now picking our first crops of lettuce, rocket, baby spinach leaves, radish, rhubarb and herbs and it’s really lovely to be back eating home grown salads. When I go up to the allotment I usually pick a bunch of mint and lemon balm which I keep in water in a jar and use for teas. There’s nothing nicer than fresh herb tea and it’d good to have herbs on hand to chop for salads and cooked dishes.