... or rather, thinking about allotmenting.
It's come to the point in winter, just past Christmas and with the boys back at school, where my thoughts turn to the upcoming allotment season. I've been perusing seed catalogues and websites and deciding on what to plant this coming spring.
There are a few things that worked well, that I want to extend:
1) cut flowers
I so loved the luxury of having cut flowers in the house all summer long. It was easy and fun and the bunches of flowers made me smile every time I passed them. Definitely worth it.
Last summer I grew Cosmos and Dahlias and some Sunflowers. They were great, but this year I'm planning to extend my range a bit. I'm thinking of adding some Cornflowers and Sweetpeas for sure, but possibly also some Larkspur, Calendula, Anethum, Antirrhinum, and Verbena.
There were some definite successes and fails. Our beans were spectacular. In fact, we had so many beans we still have bags and bags of frozen ones to get through. So runner beans and bush beans are a definite!
On the other hand, our sweetcorn and our carrots (despite what you see in the basket - they were inedible) were nothing short of pitiful. I don't think we ate a single cob of corn or carrot, lol. That said, I'm probably going to try again. After a few years of persistent failure to grow sweetcorn I seem to have developed a slightly unhealthy and misplaced fixation on successfully growing corn. I'm determined that this year we'll eat corn on the cob, grown in our own allotment!
I also want to increase our berry produce. Last summer we made some delicious blackcurrant jam and our strawberries were amazing! This year we'll devote even more space to strawberries, and I'm planning on planting a few more raspberry plants and possibly also another blackcurrant bush.
Other than that I'm planning on planting potatoes again (also not a raging success last summer), as well as pumpkins and courgettes, some cucumbers, brassicas, peas and mangetout, parsnip and onions, definitely onions. We were so unlucky with those because when we planted them we didn't have netting yet and they were all eaten before they even had a chance to establish.
So there you go, my plans are made! :)
I'm kind of enjoying this period - when you can't actually plant yet (all I'm planning on doing this winter is weed and dig in muck), but have to prepare for the growing season.
In case you are based in the UK and interested in such matters, I'm getting most of my cut flower seeds Sow Seeds - not the cheapest, alas, but they have a pretty extensive selection of cut flower varieties and give information about how long flowers last when cut, etc. All very useful. :)
Most of my vegetable seeds and some additional cut flowers seeds will be purchased from Vegetable Seeds, which is great, especially if you have an allotment and purchase lots of vegetable seeds. The prices are reasonable and at the moment they have a 50% sale on, so all their seed packets are under £1! I really wish they had a better flower selection so I could order everything from them, but their vegetable selection is superb. I'm adding the link to their website:
VegetableSeeds.net offers fantastic value for the highest quality vegetable seeds in the UK. Over 400 varieties with next day shipping and free P&P on all UK orders over £15.00.