As autumn cedes to winter, my thoughts are turning to next year. I'm tired of digging. I want to grow something, that's what I signed up for. It's time to plan, a much underrated part of allotment life.
Step 1: pick the team
My allotment advisors recommend I compile a wish list of my favourite fruit and veg. I'm a realist, I know aubergine is but a pipe dream. After this year's potato disaster my sights are set decidedly lower: I'm after whatever will survive.
So, I'm relying on potatoes and kale to provide a defensive backbone. I'll supplement them with some talent that's done well on neighbouring plots: raspberries and runner beans. Courgettes will make a return - they've proved their worth. Lastly, I feel compelled to add sweetcorn to the mix. Stroke of genius, or flight of fancy?
Step 2: choose the formation
Here's where things get decidedly tricky. I need to think about sunlight. I need to think about drainage. I need to think about crop rotation. I need to lie down.
Surprisingly, height is a big worry. Some crops, beans in particular, grow rather tall, overshadowing their lesser colleagues. That sort of behaviour puts noses out of joint.
Still, despite the complications, I've managed to assemble a notion of a plan. I'd paused to bask in the glory of a cunning kale/spinach combination, when Wife remarked that I hadn't consulted her.
Ah yes, it's our allotment. Silly me. Back to the drawing board then. What do you mean you don't like potatoes?