Fings Aint Wot They Used To Be

When I first obtained an allotment 40 years ago in Romford, June was a quietish month. Almost everything had been sown and planted and I was waiting for harvest time in July and August. The main task in June was weeding and keeping everything tidy. Compare 40 years ago with this morning, when I harvested on the plot; cabbage, cucumber, beetroot, broad beans, carrots, radish, mangetout – plus a variety of salad leaves. Also on Saturday I picked my first runner bean – only one but still.

My flowers are all starting to bloom. The sweet peas are above my head, nearly at the top of their 8’ canes, plus my first dahlia flower is out.

I’m sure the reasons for the earlier season are many, but certainly the times they are a changing.

Not everything, however, has been successful. My strawberries, a variety called Marshmallow, started fruiting a month ago, but since have been gradually deteriorating with a very low harvest. Yesterday, I tidied up the strawberry bed and there wasn’t a fruit to be had. I still have a later fruiting variety, Florence, growing which I hope will have better luck.

Also, I find, that every year there is something which just won’t germinate when sown. Last year I remember it was sweet corn, Swift, which needed 3 sowings to obtain the required number of plants. This year, of all things, it is the lettuce Little Gem. I must have made more than half a dozen sowings and the germination rate has been dismal. I must have sown thousands of Little Gems over the years without any problems. But this year, ughhh. Infamy, infamy. I’ve tried new packets of seeds, direct in the soil, and in modules – but all with the same results. Who knows why, perhaps it’s all about the meaning of life. But it is also one of the joys of gardening, the total unpredictability of it all. It would all be thoroughly boring if everything went exactly to plan. Well, that’s what I’m trying to convince myself.

I’m looking forward to the RHS visit on Friday. The RHS have confirmed that 4 exports will be coming plus a staff member. It really is a bit of a coup to have them visiting, and we hope there is a good turnout of people at their Q&A session at the Fishermans Club starting at 1.30.

I’ll report on their visit next week.

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