Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Apparently I'm an Undeserving Slacker

One of the great joys of English life is the allotment system. These community gardens, tended largely by retirees, are wedged into patches of otherwise unused land, some large, some small. People keep their plots for years; I've heard that in many towns the only way to get one is to wait for someone to die.

So, last fall, you can imagine how delighted I was to secure the last available plot from my local allotment association. It was no beauty; it was covered with a thorny, invasive bramble and one corner had been used as a compost heap by other gardeners for the past year. It would take a lot of work to clear, including re-homing a brood of nesting slow worms, but it was in a great location: close to the water spigot, in full sun, and BIG. All fall I dreamed of the beautiful vegetables I'd be growing come summer, the senior citizen friends I'd make, how cute I'd look in my straw hat and polka-dotted gardening gloves.

About three weeks ago I went down there bright and early to clear my plot and get it ready for planting. The plan was to burn the refuse with an incinerator contraption I'd bought from the garden center and then cover the plot with black plastic to kill off the bramble. In a few weeks it would be dead and by that time the ground would be soft enough to till the soil and commence spring sowing. I ate a hearty oatmeal breakfast. I donned my Wellies and gloves. I made a thermos of coffee to ward off the cold.

Upon arrival, I was crestfallen to discover that someone else had already done all the work! I rounded the garden twice to make sure I wasn't looking in the wrong row. I wasn't. Bloody hell! Turns out the association thought I'd abandoned the plot because I hadn't cleared it earlier this fall. They deemed me a slacker and gave my plot away! Total heartbreak.

Well, no time for brooding. I'm still determined to grow vegetables this summer and so I've been investigating what can reasonably be grown in containers here at home. Turns out many things.

Today I planted seeds for an assortment of salad greens (little gem lettuce, sangria lettuce, wild rocket and radicchio). The packages say they should germinate in 6 days. When they're big enough they'll go into troughs in the garden and by May/June we'll be able to go out back and pick a salad for dinner. The novelty!

1 comment:

Jim Teacher said...

Typical Yank.