Well that’s another year gone and I honestly don’t know where the time went… All those plans and dreams that I made at the beginning of the year vanished too and 2017 went by in a little crazy whirlwind, but a good one at that!
Our little Lavender and Leeks business has grown so much this past year and I am so thankful to all our customers and to all the people that popped by to say hello to us at our stand. We sold at 13 shows throughout April to September and it was our best year yet! A lot of hard work, sweat and tears went into our business and setting up the stall at all those shows but we enjoyed it so much. 2018 looks to be even busier with more shows booked including some larger RHS ones and we’re heading up North too. I’ll be posting a full list of these up and coming shows here on the blog very soon and we’d love to see you there!
Due to spending so much time working the poor allotment and blog were neglected as well as my mental health, in fact I was so close to giving the plot up completely! I have all these ideas in my head about expanding the blog and making more professional videos, actually putting the time and effort into these things but sometimes life can just be too busy. Therefore the videos were called to a halt and progress on the blog had to stop so that we could work on the garden shows and of course I’ve been travelling to Wales quite alot too…
The allotment however, has always been that one place I can go to if I’m feeling stressed or overwhelmed, it doesn’t take long to relax and forget your troubles once you start weeding or breathing in that fresh air. I missed spending much needed time up the allotment and longed for those lazy Summer days when I used to sit with a cup of tea and enjoy the plot. Not that it was all that bad, I managed to harvest quite a few good crops this year and I even managed to sit and enjoy a cup of tea for 5 minutes back in July!
However, let’s begin with January which actually started with a bang! I was busy planning for the year ahead, getting the allotment ready for the Spring and harvesting trugs full of flower sprouts, curly kale and leeks. The brassica bed was full and the purple sprouting broccoli was the king of the plot! This was all something I missed terribly this Winter as once all the brassicas had been harvested that was the last I would see of them… I never got round to sowing or growing any more and the new rotated brassica bed turned into a wasteland of rubbish and weeds. It’s on the list of things to do however and I’m determined to have a brassica bed next year!
February brought with it the start of many sowings in the greenhouse and one I was thankful for, Winter seems so long and miserable when you can’t get out in the garden. The broad beans had germinated, the flower sprouts were still producing and I started to really dig down and get the flower patch ready for the year ahead. I also purchased and added some 6X natural fertiliser into the tulip trough and along the archway where the munchkin pumpkins would be growing. The soil needed some much needed nutrients and this stuff did wonders for the trough…
March consisted of more sowings and for me it was one of the busiest months in the greenhouse. The daffodils bloomed by the front gate and the tulip trough was brimming with green foliage ready for the big display. I made plans right there and then that I needed more daffodils and tulips on plot 15c, they are my favourite flower and bring me so much joy. I also planted out the red onion sets that I had started off in the greenhouse and started to harvest my purple sprouting broccoli, my favourite crop of the year!
April was the month of the Spring bulbs and my favourite flower… tulips. The trough put on a spectacular performance fuelled by the 6X natural fertiliser that was added back in February and still remains my second best feature on the plot (the first being the shed of course!) I also fell in love with these three headed daffodil blooms called ‘Thalia’, continued picking purple sprouting right through until the middle of April until the ‘International Kidney’ potatoes had to be planted out on Good Friday. The first two rows of carrots were sown into ready warmed beds using the cloche hoops and the radish tank was back up and running!
May was when the garden shows really started which meant I was spending less time up the allotment. I did however find time to sort out the new area where my manure bin, small flower/rhubarb bed and fertilisers were going to go. The poor sweet peas were planted out a little late, the courgettes went into the ground and I forgot to earth up the potatoes! But the radishes were coming thick and fast and I wasn’t complaining, I absolutely adore these little jewels and they still remain one of my must have crops.
June brought with it the first harvest of broad beans and sweet peas. I also harvested my one and only strawberry from the temporary strawberry bed, they were moved from the old cages awaiting their new home in some guttering but it looks like the wildlife beat me to the rest! The butternut squash and gherkin were planted into the trough once the tulips had been removed, I would be replacing the bulbs in November. And even though the pond was being neglected the wildlife was pretty much in it’s element!
July was less busy and I spent some time in Wales, we also visited Hampton Court Flower Show as visitors which was really nice. Other then that the allotment was thriving and everything was growing well, the flower patch was looking it’s best and I had yellow courgettes coming out of my ears! I managed to move the old water tank into position next to the shed, the sunflowers were starting to bloom and the squash was taking over the trough… I even had time to sit down and enjoy a cup of tea in the morning sunshine!
August left no rest for the wicked and I was busy sowing some dwarf french beans that unfortunately this year wouldn’t grow in time. My leeks and swiss chard seedlings went into the old potato bed after I harvested the last of my international kidneys (which were delicious) I also thinned out the carrots a little too late and was left with some yummy baby carrots to eat! Harvests included more courgettes, climbing french beans, potatoes, radishes, gherkins and the smallest bowl of blackcurrants (yet again I forgot to harvest them and then it was too late!)
September was when the allotment started to wind down a bit and we waved goodbye to the garden shows. I harvested my greatest success yet which just so happened to be the butternut squashes! I was so proud of these 5 squashes and couldn’t believe that I actually managed to grow them in the trough after 3 years of trying. I also picked two tiny munchkins which made my heart burst and made up for the poor crop of sweetcorn. Over on the flower patch the sunflowers grew to over 10 foot and the cosmos were putting on a stunning display. My plot was also featured in the Kitchen garden magazine over a 5 page spread, one of my proudest moments!
October was a super busy month and it’s a special one because I got to meet the man himself Mr Monty Don at his new book launch! We also got a new rotavator thanks to EBay and the shed had a little makeover inside too. The plot itself was still producing too and I was busy picking raspberries, cosmos, a tiny crown prince squash and trug fulls of swiss chard! I also planted out some garlic into containers as a very last resort…
November and the plot is really going into hibernation now although the leeks and swiss chard battle on. It was also the month that the little purple potting shed opened up for business again and I fired up the gas oven to get cooking! I also ticked a huge job off the list, one that had been on the list for a few years now and that was to put the galvanised roofing on the shed. With help from my Dad we finally did it and I am so happy with the outcome! I also planted out over 100 tulip, narcissus and ranunculus bulbs into the trough with some giant alliums planted in the flower border. I just can’t wait to watch them bloom!
December was cold and wet which meant hardly any time to get the allotment ready for the Spring. Instead I was busy making herbal bath ‘tea bags’, bottling up my homemade nettle fertiliser and foraging an alternative wreath for Christmas. We did manage to harvest some carrots from my plot and some parsnips from my Dads for Christmas lunch and it was so nice to be able to share them with our nearest and dearest.
And that my friends, is plot 15c in a nutshell. We’ve had our ups and downs, failures and successes but most of all we’ve had fun. I’ll admit I would have liked to have spent more time gardening this past year but I am so grateful for the little time I could spend up there and for all the crops I actually grew and harvested with my own hands. It never ceases to amaze me that you can help a tiny seed grow into things so spectacular, and for me that magic will never fade.
- The giant butternut squashes!
- Sunflowers that grew to over 10ft tall
- Finally getting round to putting the galvanised roofing on the shed
- A steady flow of radishes at the start of the year
- Courgettes coming out of my ears!
- Appearing in a 5 page spread inside Kitchen Garden magazine
- Meeting Monty Don!
- The harvests of purple sprouting broccoli at the beginning of the year
- The sweetcorn produced a tiny crop
- Red onions hated the wet weather and rotted in the ground
- The rats got to my strawberries!
- Too late harvesting the blackcurrants
- The leeks didn’t mature in time before Winter
- The non existence of the brassica bed…
Plans for 2018:
Next year I hope to organise my time a little better and to try and find that right balance between the allotment, work and spending time with loved ones. I’d loved to give the videos an uplift and I still hope to continue them when I can because I just simply really enjoy making them. I also want to venture further into cooking, DIY and making home and beauty products in my little shed because I really loved making those herbal bath ‘tea bags’! Plus there’s a special project going on in 2018 and I am so excited about it, all will be revealed soon hopefully…
The allotment itself is currently being planned out and I’ll be sharing them all with you soon! The flower patch has had a re vamp but the vegetable beds will be much of the same (and I promise to tidy that brassica bed!) Both me and my Dad hope to have each allotment in tip top condition with seedlings ready sown and planted out before the garden shows really get into full swing.
Of course we can’t really plan too much ahead, after all you never know what the year is going to bring. But what we can do is hope and dream and do the very best that we can with what is given to us, and I plan to make the very most out of 2018!
I hope that each and every one of you has a year full of love, laughter and lot’s of delicious homegrown goodies!
Happy New Year x