It's almost a year since Emma Darwin transformed my life by offering to allow me to use her garden as an allotment. I thought I'd share the highs and lows of a very productive and satisfying few months.
Broad beans were the first to appear and I was so excited that I forgot they were broad beans and picked the whole pods and steamed them. They were delicious, but the real things, once I'd allowed them to mature, were better still.
Spinach. This has gone on and on for months. I pick it as I need it; sweet young leaves for using raw in salads and iron-rich mature leaves for mixing into risotto, curry or just as a steamed vegetable.
Onions. Very satisfying to watch them grow. Even more satisfying to eat them. I'm planning on planting lots more this time.
Garlic. As above re onions.
Tomatoes. A veritable forest! Sweet and juicy - essence of tomato-ness.
Potatoes. Harvested some and I'm leaving the rest in the ground until needed.
Rocket. Peppery gorgeousness - and self-seeding too. Can't ask for more than that.
Butternut squash. Not ripe yet but I've got my eye on them. Love the way they take over such a vast space - like benevolent squatters.
Apples. I can't lay claim to anything other than collecting them and distributing them far and wide. There are still several carrier bags filled with them sitting in my kitchen. Apple pie, anyone? Crumble? Cake? Juice?
Lettuce. I had one fab crop but word must have gone out to the South London slug and snail community. They nabbed the next plantings as soon as they raised their delicate little green heads.
Purple sprouting broccoli. Only three seedlings survived the invasion of the slimy ones. I've sprayed them with an eco confection and hope they make it to maturity.
Compost. The bin is full and not a particularly pleasant sight (or smell TBH) but it will be worthwhile if it produces enough compost for all the plots.
Subsequent lettuce and other salad crops (see above).
Having, with great pride and excitement, constructed a fabulous set of interlinked bamboo canes to support the 50+ runner bean seeds I planted, you can imagine my disappointment when the slimies ate the whole lot.
They also scoffed all the pak choi.
Spending time in the garden, sun on my back, pottering, pulling up weeds and tying up tomatoes, has given me enormous amounts of pleasure. It's enabled me to get away from the computer, chill out and get some good honest dirt under my nails.
Emma - you've made a nought-but-a-balcony woman very happy indeed. Thank you!