IT'S NOW OR NEVER


There’s a dentist who works in Eastbourne who swears he’s Elvis. Well, I’m sure he knows that he isn’t Elvis, but he does play Elvis records all day long. I suppose it does relieve the boredom of looking into peoples’ mouths all day long, and for his whole working lifetime. The only time I’ve seen him animated was when he was telling me about his visit to Gracelands, where he said he paid $75 for entry – not on my bucket list then. Disappointingly, he doesn’t work in an Elvis jump suit, nor does he do requests, nor does he do the Elvis impersonator circuit. All of which I asked him very tongue in cheek, to which he replied stony faced “no I don’t”. It never occurred to me that wonder if dentists have a sense of humour, but I concluded not. However, he does have a cabinet full of Elvis memorabilia in his surgery, including a nodding Elvis – perhaps I catch him on bad days.

Anyway, there he was prodding away in my mouth while It’s Now or Never was serenading us and my mind was wondering as to what needs doing on the allotment. My rule of thumb is that everything needs planting out by the end of May in order to get a decent crop. And this year I’ve managed that, give or take the odd cabbage plant or two. The major problem with this year is that nearly everything seems to be taking so long to get going. I guess it’s because the weather since Easter hasn’t being particularly hot, nor has it rained, and it has been windy at times. As an example, I have in past years picked runner beans by the end of May – this year there’s hardly a flower appeared.

So now it’s a waiting game and keeping the weeds down. Because of the lack of rain the weeds are not romping away, so my Father Christmas weeding routine of hoe, hoe, hoe is completed in no time at all. There is still a lot of successional sowings to do – I’ll be sowing in the coming weeks more salad crops, French beans, and peas. Also in the coming few weeks I’ll be sowing sprouts and purple sprouting broccoli seeds. The seed packets always say sown earlier, especially sprouts, but I always find they catch up easily. The problem I find with sowing earlier is that you have plants in modules with nowhere to plant them, but need protecting from the dreaded cabbage white. Which reminds me of another crop, leeks, which I sow later than the packets say. I sow well into April and plant out in June, mainly because I don’t want the crop until towards the end of the year and the first quarter of next year when not much else is available.

It’s interesting watching the Yotubers because I detect that sowing conventions are changing, the growing season is being extended. I guess it’s because of global warming that the frosts are finishing and starting later, which coupled with the micro climate around Eastbourne, enables us to enjoy much longer growing season than compared with the past.

Another insight I had today looking around my plot is the importance of preparing the ground in the Autumn, it makes life so much easier for the new season. A fraction of the time is needed for digging and weeding. I cannot recommend it enough. A stitch in time in October saves nine in the Spring.

May and June are known as the hungry months because few crops are being harvested. But last weekend I managed to harvest what I thought what a decent return, broad beans, carrots, cauliflower, asparagus, potatoes, and strawberries. I laid them out on the patio to photograph and excitedly showed my Jeni the results of my endeavours, and all she had to comment was that the cauliflower leaves something to be desired. Time for a bottle of wine I thought.

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EAGS Office - Gorringe Road Eastbourne BN22 8XL eastbourne.allotments@gmail.com 01323 430970