I’m up North for the Christmas break, and like most areas of England it’s been a wet and windy Christmas. After spending nearly a week either sat at a dining table or in front of the TV, I was ready to leave the house.
We took advantage of the sunny but frosty morning and headed up to Dad’s allotment on the edge of the village. It’s a world away from my suburban plot surrounded by housing and a busy railway line.
Plot 9A is a half plot measuring around 30 m by 7.5 m, and costs £12 a year to rent – so cheap! The sandy soil is so fine it felt like cotton wool compared to my heavy clay. The plot is divided into 4 large beds: fruit, brassicas, roots, and beans and onions, each plot is separated by a path and sometimes a herby hedge. Any spare space will be filled with squash and pumpkin.
Dad’s also allotmentised the bottom of his garden. Beyond a trellis are 2 greenhouses, 3 large raised beds, an asparagus plot, oh not forgetting a shed, and more water-butts and compost bins you can shake a hat at!
This morning I was set the task of weeding between the onions and brassicas. It was made much easier with this nifty hoe thingy – it skimmed the weeds off and made the job much easier. I’ll have to invest in some better tools – I guess it’s too late to ask santa!
Before heading home I collected some young nettles. Nettles are a wonderful source of iron and can be used as a spring tonic in tea, soups or stews. I opted for a tea. I took a handful of nettle tops and stuffed them in a strainer and covered with just boiled water. This cute cup had a cover so I left it to brew for 10 minutes.