9. JUNE

Yesterday was a day that we missed for the last two years – the annual meeting of the Allotment society, the AGM and financial report and the most important prize presentation. I was delighted to finish in second place in the annual city-wide competition. I think the next step will be just one category – gardeners, not women and men. A lot of us can more than match men when it comes to digging and growing. Never mind that, my second place is great and that will be my last time of entering, I’ve done it –  came first in newcomers and a few years ago first in the women category, second yesterday, that’ll do just fine. It was a nice evening, the Lord Mayor was presenting the prizes. He and his wife both have an allotment so he can appreciate how much effort goes into keeping a well tended allotment.

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There was an official photographer so eventually I’ll have a photo with the Lord Mayor as well. Apart from the cup I got a cheque for £50, that will go towards buying the seeds for next year.

SOME MORE RECYCLING

Quite a few years ago I started making flower pots out of newspapers – using a jam jar as a mould they were just the right size for transplanting my seedlings. The advantage was that they rotted in the soil when I transferred the plants out into the open soil.

This is a step further. I have started growing my sunflowers for our annual Johnson sunflower competition. They started well, I put them into little pots and they did even better there. Now I needed to put them into something even bigger – but what?

I have been saving the brown paper than some mailing companies fill their boxes with – just because I hate throwing things away, it might come handy.

Today was the day. I used a tall vase as a mould because I needed something bigger than a jar and with straight sides. It is just perfect, I have used most of the paper and the plants look fine. I’ll keep them in the greenhouse for quite a while and when all danger of frost is gone they’ll go out. Last year I managed 11ft and 11inches, my hope is for that one inch more!

COMPETITION

Today was a special day down on the farm. Our allotment site came third in the city-wide competition and we are the proud holders of a trophy!

I came first in the Ladies’ category – this is my second time of coming first and third time of winning (I came first in the Newcomers’ section when I first started).

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I will keep the cup for one year, I also got a cheque for my efforts.

A great day was had by all.

MY PLAN

Only one more day to go and we shall be in the New Year, a new decade. I don’t usually make New Year resolutions but this time I make an exception – I shall get more involved on the allotment. I don’t mean that I would take on more land to cultivate but I will try to organise a spring clear-out, help to hire a skip to get all the rubbish off the site, maintain paths – I’ve got a plan: I want to enter our site in the city-wide competition again. We came third this time so I’d like to think that after some effort we would do better.

We shall get our site on the map!

3.OCTOBER

My plots were judged for the second time early in September, the usual in the city allotment competition. Now I can try and forget all about it as we won’t find out the result for some time. Today was one day that we didn’t have rain so I went down the allotment, just to see if there is anything else I could harvest. There always is!

My beetroot is just amazing – I can’t remember what I did to prepare the ground but it  worked. This is certainly the best harvest I have had in all my years growing veg there.

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Not just the beetroot, it is everything else – the last of the sweetcorn, runner beans, giant carrots and the best of all – raspberries! These are the autumn fruiting variety and they keep on giving.

Getting the second greenhouse certainly was worth it – another generous picking of tomatoes.

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You can’t beat a home-made tomato soup!

SUNFLOWERS

The time for measuring is here – the annual talest sunflower competition is upon us and this year I’m quite confident that I’ll do well.

The tallest one is 9ft and 11 inches. It stands beside the greenhouse so it is protected and also needs to grow tall to reach the light. I think that’s the secret!

PRIZE GIVING

Yesterday was finally the day when I was able to collect my prize.

As usual the ‘do’ was in St. Mary’s hall, in the Council house – a great place, full of atmosphere. My irreverent thought was that I should go dressed in my gardening finery – muddy wellies and dirty gardening trousers and sweater. But that thought went and I dressed as I should, smart-casual.

It was a very pleasant evening and what made it even better was that our Lord Mayor is an allotment gardener himself so he could fully appreciate our hard work.

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I managed to get 170 point out of 200 possible and that was 2 points more than the winning men’s entry! I think we should get rid of the ‘ladies’ and ‘men’ sections and just have one overall category. I can dig as good (or better) as any man!

There’s a challenge!