Monday, January 01, 2007

A new year... and it's gale force again

Happy New Year - I hope it's a good one!

It didn't start too well for me, as my first allotment visit of the year was another tale of woe. Once again, the gale-force winds and torrential rain have done for my shed. Max, the bloke who runs the site, very kindly moved the roof off my fence so it didn't knock that down too, and I arrived to another heavy, sodden chunk of wood to move.

Luckily my next-door-neighbours, who have a double allotment and are pickle and chutney supremos, were around this morning so they helped me get the wretched thing back up. This time I bit the bullet and attached it properly to the top of the shed, fixed a gap where the corner is rotten and renewed the roof felt where it had given way to the elements. Then I sorted out the door, which has been off its hinges with a six-inch gap at the top for quite some time - the theory is that the gap is creating a pressure differential which is literally blowing the roof off. Let's hope it's done the trick and this is the last time...

Otherwise it's a new year, so I must be double-digging... every year I make the resolution to start my double digging before January, but every year I end up squelching about with two inches of mud on my wellies. It's so wet that there are actual puddles of standing water in places (though admittedly only those bits I haven't dug over yet).

It's not the ideal time for working the soil, either, as it's really no good for the structure to turn over soggy muddy spadefuls. I'm hoping that the fact that I'm double-digging will mean the structure is improved anyway, so it should cancel itself out. That's how it worked out last year, though I think if anything it's wetter this year!

It's seed ordering time, so I've decided to start a series of reviews of the various varieties I've grown, to remind me which ones were best and why. I hope it's useful to others, too. There's nothing quite like first-hand experience of growing something to sort out which bit of the catalogue hype is true, and which bit is creative licence. Anyway - look out for the first instalment in the next few days.

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