Documenting the seasons of coastal Dorset. I'm a complete amateur so don't trust I'm always right. If ever you see I'm wrong - whether with identifications or in anything else - do say!

Thursday, 13 July 2017

WELL, HERE WE ARE IN YORKSHIRE AND HOPING TO BE GROWING PERFECT VEGETABLES - a sort of review

Well. Here we are in Halifax - the West Yorkshire version, not the bright lights of Nova Scotia. There will be a few more trips back to Dorset but after that we (my friend Esther, her husband Ming and their two children Worthing and Didcott) will be established in our new, urban home. Four storeys, no garden - but an allotment.

The allotment has already shown up our differences in approach, Esther and me. While Esther was testing how easily the 'weeds' pulled out and wondering whether it would offend anyone if she rolled up and threw away the carpet paths between the raised beds . . . . I was picking a bunch of wild flowers; willow herb and an array of flowering grasses plus some sturdy stalks of plantain and a big fern frond loosely bound with a ribbon of bindweed. Rather romantic, I thought.

But what has happened to the book I'm supposed to be reviewing? I had it in my hand while packing. I had all the books I've reviewed so far on one shelf, so I added this to them and packed them all into a box . . . which is yet to be uncovered. Or perhaps they've gone into different boxes. Because I've come across one on pest control which I didn't actually review but it's sort of in the same bracket . . . and think I saw the one about only spending half an hour a day on your allotment floating by but Growing Perfect Vegetables (published by Quarto) is . . . is . . . somewhere. Which means I'm not able to say anything about it except it's probably equally balanced between bright pictures and easy read text and I'm looking forward to finding it so I can be inspired to know when our fruit and veg. will be ripe. Esther has told me to stop looking for stray books because clearing the allotment and getting it ready for next year is our priority and that we will not be growing prickly pears anyway, whatever it says in the book. (She can be a grumpy friend. I hope this shared house lark is going to work!) Meanwhile, her husband has been eyeing up the rubbish scattered about our plot and planning his bonfire. One of the allotment organisers asked what we will be doing with the weeds. I began to explain how we are interested in the way one raised bed has solid ribwort while another has nothing but horse tails. Esther butted in rather abruptly to say we will be pulling them up, piling them up and burning them. It's fortunate the walk between the house and the allotment is only eight minutes because it was rather tense. Esther didn't like any of my ideas - like weeding round the ragwort instead of ripping it out, photographing slugs before disposing of them and maintaining ornamental clumps of wild grasses. I tried to lighten the mood by saying I wasn't sure the book actually says we should grow prickly pears but when to buy them but it didn't work - and I'm not sure it says that anyway.

There are other important things to decide too. Matters of life and death; like where will we re-locate allotment slugs in this part of town where houses are closely packed in terraces and where a small yard is a luxury and a garden almost impossible. And what will I do with this blog? A sudden change in theme from coastal Dorset to central Halifax might confuse later browsers. One thing is clear though. This area is jam packed with wild plants. They are in the kerbs, on the tops of walls and inside derelict buildings. (Yes, inside! It's a new one on me and I plan to show you.)

So . . . a bit more fiddling around rifling through packing boxes and making a 600 mile round trip to my old home to read the meters . . . then I'll get out my camera, find that book, start a new blog and persuade you to follow me on my next adventure with the plants no-body (except you and me) notice.

* * *
Square Foot Gardening: Growing Perfect Vegetables.
A Visual Guide to Raising and Growing Perfect Vegetables
Mel Bartholomew Foundation
160 pages, paperback.
Published by Cool Springs Press