Monday 7 September 2009

mary mary quite contrary, how does your garden grow?

As soon as David and I knew where we would be living and when we would be moving in I started to plan how I would spend my time. As a social historian I make a concerted effort to acknowledge the shift between when time was passed to when we started to SPEND time. But I digress, at this point, of course, I wasn't fully aware that my role as the unemployed female partner would swiftly turn into the role of housewife. Regardless of the title, I knew that I would have time on my hands to spare, and obviously to pass (not to spend!).

My London friends and I were, also at this point, avid watchers of Hugh Fearnley=Whittingstall's River Cottage Spring/Summer series. The romantic (if not laboursome) ideal of producing your own crops and livestock, becoming self sufficient...sigh...romantic I say, because let's face it...highly unlikely! But, one ideal that I wanted to try to achieve and embrace was to grow my own vegetables. The small yard of our new house was not going to cut it, but never fear Hugh's fantastic Landshare project came to my rescue!

The basic philosophy behind Landshare is people getting together, sharing land, and growing fruit and veg. I joined the project and found a listing to share a portion of an allotment plot in my new home town, I immediately contacted the lister and no we share her allotment! She has generously loaned me the use of about a quarter of her plot, and believe me it is large enough for the two of us to be almost self sufficient (once things get underway!) !!!!!

The first day i worked the land I couldn't stop myself! I was toiling away, sowing and watering and weeding and oh my! The only sad thing about the whole experience is that we moved at the end of the summer's sowing season so our little plot is very limited. Currently growing Swiss Chard, Beetroot, Spring Onions, Lettuce, Radish and Carrots. I just love the sensation of watching seedlings grow into plants in their own rights, battling with the throngs of weeds I can't seem to banish and finally (today) the cutting of the first 9 swiss chard leaves ready for harvesting and lovely lovely braising in butter for tonight's supper!

I loaned a few books from the library about organic gardening, and allotment gardening and seasonality but to be honest I couldn't really follow all the prescriptive text and methodical procedures. I figure, and this is where my 21st century mindset comes in, if it grows it grows, if not I am out the price of a few seed packets. I am ashamed, I promise I am, and come next summer when the plot is lush and fruitful and teeming with courgettes and tomatoes and peppers and cabbages and all those wonderfully productive plants I will reflect on my 21st century mind and scold it, I promise.

Links to Landshare and River Cottage sites for seasonal ideas and Landshare postings:

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