The plot lies dormant, a diseased holly tree sawn from the garden crackles on the log fire and our heads are beginning to fog with the spicy essences of mulled alcohol. A perfect moment to reflect on the year gone by and ponder our resolutions for 2015…
Nick’s new year’s resolutions
Get a polytunnel
Last year I acquired a cheap, plastic greenhouse. I might as well have constructed my own out of matchsticks and clingfilm. It collapsed at the slightest gust of wind, unearthing the pots inside and crushing my parsnips outside. By the time summer reached its peak all that remained was a pile of poles and a squashed gherkin. So 2015 will be the year I finally invest in a proper polytunnel. One that’s easy to build, provides good levels of heat and protection to the plants inside and, hopefully, lasts for years.
Grow fewer potatoes
There’s not a huge benefit to growing spuds other than getting to try out unusually varieties, although digging the first tubers of the year is always like excavating buried treasure. But after those initial harvests the novelty wears off and the remaining plants become just some more boring potatoes hogging the plot. Next year I’ll be resolving not to get carried away at my local ‘potato day’ and restrict spud growing activity to a single row, leaving more space for properly unusual veg like mashua.
Label plants properly
I grew about 10 different varieties of beans in 2014. I fully intended to write a blog about what beans were best but, apart from the distinctive looking yellow ‘neckargold’ (average) and multi coloured ‘borlotti’, I haven’t a clue what any of them were. Because I neglected to label them. I’ve saved beans from the best crops to plant again next year – I don’t know what they are so there’s not point in writing out tags for those varieties, but at least I can label the rest.
Rich’s new year’s resolutions
Sort out the raspberry patch
THE most neglected part of our allotment, our sprawling raspberries need taming, and 2015 is the year when it finally happens. We inherited both summer and autumn fruiting varieties, which have now merged into one sprawling jumble. Having identified the different canes during the fruiting months, I’ll be building a suitable structure on which to tie the summer fruiting canes, whilst brutally chopping back the Autumn fruiting canes to the ground. Oh, and I’ll also be mulching the crap out of them this winter to try and keep tabs on the bindweed menace.
Replace the brewing shed
2015 is the year that we will finally close the draughty, ill-fitting door of our decrepit brewing shack and purchase a shiny new replacement shed to house our multitudinous brewing experiments. It has served us well for the past 10 years, but the cider-soaked flooring has started to rot and, judging by the avalanche of empty bottles, plant pots and rusting garden implements that greet us every time we prise open the door, a larger shed might be in order.
There are a few ‘fallow’ areas on the allotment – places that could be utilised to house plants and bushes other than the nettles and bindweed that currently jostle for position. I intend to extend our fruit harvest and plant some exotic treats for future experimental beverages… I’ve got my eye on a couple of Chilean guava plants which will complement the Japanese wineberry canes which were planted during the Autumn. Incidentally, I’m still picking the thorns from my fingers… those bristly stalks are vicious!
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