Looking for the positives in a Spalding allotment

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A monthly column by artist – and gardener – Carol Parker.

Although my broccoli didn’t form heads, half my chard crop bolted in the heat of the sun and various thieving wildlife polished off my cauliflower plants because I forgot to net them... it’s OK, the amazing crop of tomatoes makes up for it!

I’m writing this column from my deckchair following an afternoon’s gentle weeding; I’ve learnt to pace myself, as the work will never all get done and if you try and do too much at one time it just becomes a chore.

The sun is just going down and a thin mist is hovering over the veg plots – it’s quiet and most people have long since left for the day, but this is my favourite time. Tea would be nice but I left the flask at home by the wood store (it’s a long story).

The colours of the ruby chard are beautiful even if they’ve gone to seed. I eat the leafy greens of the broccoli which are just as good, and enjoy the hares and rabbits hopping in and out of the rows of vegetables when they think no one’s looking – they’re worth the loss of a few plants.

My greenhouse is up. There are a few panes missing so it’s always well ventilated. It’s now home to a passion flower and a goji berry – very vicious spines as I discovered today. I’m hoping for a good crop of fruit in a year or two.

It is estimated that around 350,000 people in Britain have allotments with many more on the waiting list.

We’re lucky in South Holland that we still have an allotment officer and the support of our district council, along with a community garden scheme that complements the two allotment sites.

In many areas, allotments are being sold off to developers as councils are pressurised to release brownfield land for building.

As well as spending years developing their plots, people also build friendships and although councils have a statutory right to find alternative sites, it means starting over with both the plot and new fellow growers.

Lastly, a reminder that on Monday, August 24 (1-3pm) there will be the opportunity to get involved in a free event on my allotment.

Email if you’d like more details at carolparker1@live.co.uk

Read more... Art on the Spalding allotment