How are you all getting on out there with all this rain? Depending on where you live l suppose it makes for some excellent growing conditions. After all, the season started really well and there was no reason not to have the ground prepared for sowing. Or was there?
I have just been to my local Council Offices and registered my interest in renting an allotment. ‘Which one would you like?’ asked the Receptionist. My heart leapt at the thought l was going to be offered one there and then. ‘I don’t mind’ l said ‘Anything you have got. I’m not after a full plot. Just half or even a quarter plot would do’. ‘No’ came the reply ‘Which allotment site are you interested in?’ ‘Oh, er whichever has the shortest waiting list’ l said hopefully. ‘They are all the same. Four years on average. But l will put your name down with them all’. In an act of mental desperation l mentioned my blog that l write and how it is one of the gardening blogs listed with The Guardian on their gardening blog website. But she was having none of it. And l only had 65p in my pocket so l couldn’t even offer a bribe!
And so l am on the waiting list. The four year waiting list! But l have a cunning plan. Me thinks that if l pay a visit to these allotment sites and take a look around at the scruffy ones, then maybe, just maybe they might be happy to go halves with me because it is all too much for them and one of them would be happy to share some of their plot? It’s worth a try. Nothing ventured and all that. I will keep you posted.
This extract l have taken from Mr Middleton’s book ‘Mr Middleton Talks About Gardening’ was actually first published in 1935 so makes no reference to the war ahead.The month is May.
The vegetable marrow bed should be prepared now, and seed may be sown in the south. In the north the end of the month will be soon enough.If you want a few really nice marrows for the show, a good idea is to train them over a sloping framework of some kind. An old gate, sloping from the ground near the plants, to a wall or fence or some other support, four or five feet high, does quite well. Tie the shoots here and there, and then let the young marrows hang under the gate. By this method you get them perfectly straight and evenly marked, and free from slugs or soil blemishes, and they will grow to quite a good size without breaking the stems.
Of course we don’t all happen to have a spare gate, but l’ve no doubt you can fix up a contrivance of some kind which will answer just as well. But whatever you do, especially if you try this on an allotment, let it be something neat and inconspicuous. I should be very sorry to suggest anything which might encourage the use of old bedsteads and other worn out domestic appliances on the allotments. I should like to take this opportunity of appealing to allotment holders generally to be a little more considerate of the public point of view and try to keep the allotments a little tidier than they usually are. I have seen allotment fields recently which, from a distance, look like vast rubbish dumps rather than productive gardens. Surely this is hardly necessary? A little ingenuity and a coat of green paint can often cover up a multitude of eyesores.
Well, Mr Middleton, if l am lucky in my quest, l promise to keep it spick and span and certainly no rusting old bedsteads!