July has had a mix of rain, sun and downpours. As I write this, we come to the end of the hottest day of the year, and the allotment this month has been visited rarely due to work and various other commitments. The result has been a spurious growth of pigweed and an abundance of weeds in general.
As I arrived a couple of weeks ago following a few days away. The weeds had grown so much, my heart sank at the realisation that I had been too inconsistent in my approach to weeding and as a result I had an ongoing battle on my hands that this year, I am not going to win.
The best I can hope for is to try and hold them at bay, and take on board lessons to learn for next year. Little things like ensuring my crop markings are clear. That I have a plan that I follow rather than a loose I dea that quickly becomes improvisation and before long I am hip deep in pigweed and trying to see crop from crap.
The old imposter syndrome raises it’s head as I walk past the green mile of beautifully and skillfully crafted plots before arriving at my jungle of hope and despair. Perhaps i’m giving myself too hard a time here, I can find myself blowing down that cul-de-sac of negativity if i’m not careful. It’s usually at this point I need to remember that my whole plan was to trial this year and to see how I manage, and to let myself make mistakes. Give myself permission to get it wrong and watch others and try to take on board what they have done and pay attention to how many crops and whether they become overbearing at all. This was partly about learning, partly about enjoying and mostly about being.
I know I have learned. I’ve learned about spacing too far apart, leaving too much space for weeds to take hold and establish. I have definitely enjoyed. The idea of planting little seeds with my daughter and furiously attend to them in the early days and wonder if anything was going to grow, and the the joyous sight of buds appearing, and struggling, and then gloriously rooting properly and turning into recognizable crops. Of course, the opportunity to just be. Sitting there with a freshly made Swiss army stove cooked coffee, on my pallet bench. just looking out. Surveying my little corner of my world, albeit small, overgrown and severely lacking grace, which I guess is just a little reflective of me.
Of course, this month has also had the joy of harvest too. Previous months have had radish and salad leaves, but this month has provided onions, as they have started to wilt and I have had to lift them and let them cure, the baby carrots, parsnip, peas and maris pipers were all pulled on one Saturday morning, roasted that evening and served with steak. There is something truly rewarding about cooking your own crops, and tasting just how fresh they are, and the potatoes were so light and fluffy. It’s during moments like this and I grateful and look forward to more crops in months and years to come, it makes the work worthwhile.