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Barrow Voice is published by Barrow upon Soar Community Association. Opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed by the editorial committee or the Community Association.

Barrow Community Association is a registered Charity No: 505692.
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The Allotment Diary Year 2

You may remember reading about my first year at my allotment, it’s failures and it’s successes. For instance, I had an excellent crop of radish and spinach, the potatoes were delicious but not much bigger than a bar of soap but we don’t talk about the carrots, parsnips and the beetroot! However, the kidney beans were prolific. They began to crop in July and I was harvesting them right up to the first week in October.

As I wrote previously, my soil was drastically in need of some organic nourishment so I spoke to neighbouring allotment holder who knew a local farmer who would deliver manure. I ordered ‘a load’ not realising how much ‘a load’ would be. I soon discovered when a large trailer full was dumped just outside the gate to the allotment.

It took me hours to shift the smelly pile. I shovelled it by the barrow load and by the time I’d finished moving it my arms felt like they were 2 inches longer, my back ached and I didn’t even notice the smell! I soon had the soil covered with a layer of this lovely goo! Believe it or not when you have an allotment you learn to love good muck. You even envy your neighbours muck if you don’t have any.

My second year was so much more successful, well at least initially. I understood about potatoes and their categories. I had a brilliant crop of first earlies, wonderful beetroot, great broad beans, superb raspberries and then it rained. It rained for days and I suddenly noticed that the tops of the potatoes on my neighbour’s allotment were shrivelling up and turning brown. I discovered that this meant the dreaded ‘blight’. The blight soon spread to my fabulous crop of Desiree spuds. I tried desperately to save them by attempting to lift them. By this time the soil was completely waterlogged so that my garden fork could not register any grip on the soil. I sank so far into the soil that the mud almost came over the top of my wellies. I even floated a wooden raft on top of the quagmire but I had to admit defeat and lost virtually the whole crop. I was bitterly disappointed.

However, this was another valuable lesson learned. When you have an allotment you deal with the failures, move on and plan how you will do things differently when the next season arrives. I consoled myself by buying some plants of Curly Kale, Cabbage, Rainbow Chard and Leeks as Autumn/Winter veg. These were all very successful.

After my second season I felt I was getting somewhere with growing my own. The successful crops tasted absolutely wonderful. I had challenges for the next year, to grow carrots and parsnips, to improve on the sweetcorn and not least to beat the blight.......but that’s another story.

Ginnie Willcocks