We were at the allotment last night watering, and checking to see how my fence and sticks had fared against the wildlife and there was good news; the fence was still standing, some sticks had been disturbed but most importantly the four newly planted tomato plants had been left alone. Phew.
While MOH busied himself watering and re-watering I found myself looking at the plot next to ours, it's one of the most bountiful and best looking on our site. I'm not surprised that the BBC will be at our site filming and no doubt it'll be this double-plot they'll focus on (unless of course they want to show a contrasting plot, then we'll be right up there!)
Not only is it bountiful, twice the size of the other plots, it looks good too.
It got me wondering if I was envious, or if it's something to aspire to. I definitely started at the envy end of this, but knowing how much work we've already put into our plot I know this has to be the result of many, many hours hard work over a long period. As such it's a shining example of what can be achieved, so it's also an inspiration.
It's always good to compare and learn isn't it and I think that's the beauty of allotments, we can quickly learn from others by having a wander around the paths that separate our plots. All of my photos were taken from the path - that's important for me to include in this post as plot holders aren't allowed onto other plots without permission. Just saying.
I don't know the circumstances of this lady's plot (and if I did I'm sure I wouldn't be sharing them here) but I do know she manages two plots single handed. That alone is quite some feat, and then you see how much she grows, it's amazing. I know it's all about the ground work (pun intended) but even so, I think it's impressive.
MOH is also impressed with the plot next door but also frustrated. Frustrated because there's often so much left on the plants and he wonders if it ever gets picked. I've a theory that it's all about the growing for this lady, and I guess if there's only one of you that's a lot of produce to consume. But we don't know, for me, it's enjoyable to see but it can be a bit daunting looking over and comparing at times!
We do benefit from some migrating plants though - and well, free plants! A couple of raspberry canes bridged the path last year and I've happily left them where they planted themselves. Last weekend I noticed that some very tiny asparagus-like plants have appeared near where my potatoes are, so these have been moved further in the plot, we'll see how they go - they are tiny, so I think it'll be a good few years before we keep ourselves in asparagus!
The other thing I like about this plot, but I'm not sure I could manage is that the plants merge into one. There isn't the formal and blocky paths that we'll have on ours, who knows perhaps as things grow and grow well we'll lose the grass paths to cram in more growing space.
And flowers, it's full of flowers. And of course that means pollinators, which of course helps all over.
And look at those cubes of lettuces. Not striped like I dream of (well not actual dreams) but blocks of the same lettuce. Maybe that's more do-able for me. I've not sown any lettuce yet this year, but I really should.
The mix of flowers and veg works well and there is as much lavender as you think. And it puts my small plants to shame, but they'll get there and as they came from cuttings they're doing well.
Ah yes, don't talk to me about the onions. The few I have left are about pickled onion size, thankfully it's good we like pickled onions...
I've long-term ambitions for more soft fruit including redcurrants. We've had plenty of raspberries and strawberries before them, and MOH really does make a rather good Eton Mess.
Even the compost and more messy areas are flourishing. Yes, it's definitely something to aspire to, isn't it?