Thursday, 29 November 2007

Dwarfed

My plot is big. So big, my house could fit into it twice over. I’d boast that it’s visible from space, but you can see everything from space these days.

Size has its advantages. I’ve ample space to host my long-term projects, so my manure (stop sniggering) can rot in peace in a quiet corner. I occasionally stumble across overgrown treasure as I navigate my territory, which makes for a nice – if painful – surprise.

However, a large spread demands time and attention. Right now I’m focusing my efforts on the front left quarter. Meanwhile brambles and nettles have joined forces and are invading the rear at an alarming pace. I’m stoically ignoring the attack, whilst I focus on the task in hand.

Truth be told, I’d prefer a smaller plot. You’ll often find me gazing longingly at the compact but pristine plot across the way. Still, you play the hand you’re dealt, don’t you?

A few months ago I read a post about Russian allotments. Blimey, those ruskies are serious about growing food. 600 square metres! That’s not a plot: that’s a ranch.

Now I’m inspired. All of a sudden size has newfound possibilities. A pond perhaps?

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Coming of age

A year in the making, our compost has at last born fruit.

  • Is it dark? Tick
  • Is it crumbly? Tick
  • Is it moist? Tick
  • Does it smell slightly sweet? Not really

I've deployed the spoils as mulch on an empty bed, where it'll keep the weeds down and improve my soil at the same time.

It used to be rubbish, producing greenhouse gases in landfill somewhere. Now it's conditioning my soil, free of charge. I love this allotment alchemy.

The road to compost glory hasn't been smooth. I made the classic 'greens overload' mistake, which set me back half a year. Then I neglected to read the fine print: 'fruit scraps' and 'crushed eggshells'. Months later I discovered whole onions lurking in my compost and eggshells unchanged by their incarceration.

Lessons have been learnt, as the Government likes to say, and I've moved up the ladder to 'Junior Composter'. Watch your back Titchmarsh, I'm on the fast track.

Friday, 2 November 2007

Squash versus Man

Squash waited. For months he’d tormented Man.

Squash has a reputation for prolific growth. He’s known to envelop vast swathes of plot. But not this summer, not this place: the game was afoot.

Squash sniggered.

Man was confused. Why did this Goliath confine himself to single square foot? Perhaps he was sick.

Squash escaped. A fortnight before the close of play, he made a break for freedom. He burst from his prison across the neighbouring path.

Squash escaped

Man was perplexed by this strange turn of events. His books shed no light on this strange pattern of growth. Still, his optimism returned. Maybe he would feast after all.

The frost arrived.

Squash pulled the plug, deflating with unseemly haste. In a matter of hours he’d expelled all life from his lungs.

Man is disappointed. Maybe next year.

Squash knows better.