Because 2013 was a pretty disorganised year for me, I didn’t manage to plant or sow anything apart from over-wintering garlic. Had I needed to eat solely from my allotment, the ‘hungry gap’ would have been a very long one!
So, even though I’ve been working hard on the allotment this year, I’ve only just had the chance to take something to take home to eat. My first allotment crop of 2014 finally arrived at the end of last week; two short stems of forced rhubarb. Forced rhubarb usually arrives earlier than this—the Wakefield Rhubarb Festival was in February—but I was late putting my plant into darkness to encourage the bright pink stems into growth so it’s been equally late in arriving. My mum has a beautiful terracotta forcer but at the moment I’m just using an old dustbin held down with a couple of house bricks and it seems to be doing the job ok!
Two short stems of rhubarb really isn’t much, but I cooked it down to a compote with a little vanilla extract, a touch of sugar and some water and it made a really lovely dessert with some fat-free natural yoghurt. It’s made me all the more determined that from now on, I want to be eating something from the allotment at least once a week. At the moment, that’ll literally just be the rhubarb and herbs but soon it’ll be planting time for many more crops. I’m already late in sowing some things; early peas and carrots and first potatoes amongst other things could all be in the ground by now. I’ve got beans and sweet corn plants growing in loo roll tubes and if I’m organised I can get some fast growing catch-crops sown and have home-grown food on my plate in a matter of weeks. All it takes now is a bit more planning and a lot more work!
Have you grown any successful crops so far this year? I’d love to hear from you!