Our monthly allotment column

Still life: All very attractive to contemplate in the sun, but the beans won't water themselves.
Still life: All very attractive to contemplate in the sun, but the beans won't water themselves.
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Freelance mixed media artist and allotment holder Carol Parker shares garden news each month.

Oh dear, now I’m going to have to admit my plot neglect…

I’ve loads of excuses: it’s been too hot, I’ve had so much other work to do, I’m old and find it difficult to bend.

It’s all true, well except the ‘difficult to bend’, bit. It’s more the unbending that I find hard!

I haven’t really been pulling my weight on my patch for a couple of weeks apart from daily visits to harvest my evening meal: French beans, courgettes, potatoes and soft fruit.

THREE-raspberry jam

I’m very proud to report that I made my first ever jam this week – blackcurrants, gooseberries and three raspberries. Tastes awesome, if a little solid.

I’m not going to mention rabbits and celeriac; it’s just too depressing.

Enjoying the fruits...

I like to think I’m having a natural pause, a time when allotment holders sit back and enjoy the fruits (and veg) of their labours, when the sun-parched soil has stopped any weed growth and is instead giving its energy to edibles; if only.

Now I love the sun, and I’m certainly not going to moan about being too hot (when sitting, not working), but why can’t we have a good old shower at night so that I don’t have to go backwards and forwards to the rain butt 20 times each visit?

And while I’m having a moan, does nothing stop mare’s tail (the weed not the wispy cirrus cloud formation)? Apparently the rhizomes are often 7ft underground.

Any advice or tips gratefully received, even those which need me to dress up as a carrot, swirl a cabbage six times round my head and shout ‘begone thou beastie’! I’m desperate.

Now to the day job

My life is full of applications to various places at the moment. Being a self-employed artist is amazing as I’m doing what I love, but it is a bit like waking up every day facing redundancy and having to go through the interview process for each new piece of work following countless rejections. There’s no sick pay, days off in lieu or pension plan. So support your local artists and give them a hug!