As a newbie allotmenteer, first time planting is both exciting and daunting. The small selection of allotment and produce growing books with which I have equipped myself are a great help and as an accountant by profession, it is in my nature to be fairly organised and I realised I needed a plan of action. I listed all of the seeds by sowing month and planting group on a drawn plan of the allotment beds. Next I sowed in trays, those that needed bringing on in the greenhouse first.
I don’t have means to grow seeds at home and it’s been so long since I’ve last grown any, I was actually quite nervous! Some of the seeds were so small, that I had to hold my breath for fear of setting them into the greenhouse floor!
After a few days, when tiny little shoots appeared, I thought ‘hey, this is easy!’ – a few months further down the line, I must confess to having been a little naive. Slugs, snails, ants, woodlouse, cold early summer weather and sneaky birdy visitors to my greenhouse all kept me on my toes to make sure that I didn’t lose all of my seedlings. The only variety I completely lost, was the runner beans, which I overwatered & they rotted. I had already been offered some by another allotmenteer and turned them down. luckily, he still had them, when I had to ask with tail between my legs, if they were kindly still available.
Then, when second or third set of leaves appear and you’ve hardened off your precious baby plants, or the ground and general temperature are warm enough for them to be transplanted outside, you’ve still to run the gauntlet with the birds (a neighbour told me that when he visits his allotment at 7.30am, my shed roof is covered in a flock of crows..), rats and weather. In my case it was the weather. Being atop a hill on the coast, the plot is subject to strong winds rendering my young plants to yellow and brown specimens. I erected some wind break netting where needed and spread poultry manure at the base of the plants. And prayed. You can do so well and then the whole lot wiped out overnight. My mother found this out when a rabbit visited her allotment and almost totally cleared the whole patch – heartbreaking!