When we went into lockdown I was delighted to know that we could still go to our allotments. I had started off a few bits and peices at home and was itching to get my seed potatoes in. My plans were well and truly scuppered when I received a shielding letter from the NHS about 10 days ago. I have Pulmonary Sarcoidosis and asthma. We had been told those with underlying health conditions, making them susceptible to being severly ill should they catch COVID19, would receive a letter by the end of March. Although I was relieved not to receive one at that time, to eventually get the ‘you must stay at home for 12 weeks’ letter was not a surprise.
I live in a ground floor apartment with a fairly small, south facing patio. This at the moment is an abundance of spring pots either side of the patio doors. Eventually they will be a mixture of summer plants and vegetables – a Potager in every sense of the word.
Below are what I have growing on windowsills indoors and in my plastic box which I use as a makeshift greenhouse. Next to the patio there is a large garden storage box in which I keep compost and garden tools. I have brought a number of tools down from the allotment once I knew I was not allowed to go there. Albeit I would be well isolated, I don’t want to take any risks.
Inside the box, I have beetroot, spring onions, nasturtiums and also in there I’ve started the Twitter Sunflower Challenge using toilet rolls as pots. The lid goes on at night and according to the temperature is either removed or half opened during the day. I am so pleased I kept egg boxes, plastic food trays and yogurt pots. It pays to scout around for things too. Thrown away in our bin shed I found a small wooden crate, the type that vegetables come in from the greengrocer. I intend to line it and transplant the beetroot.
My potatoes (Sharpes Express) are chitting away in an egg box and I am desperately waiting for a delivery of compost, which seems to be in poor supply. Once this arrives, I will use one of my many empty compost bags to grow them in. Together with the potatoes, I have three small windowsill propogators. The Cerinthe is ready to be moved into bigger pots and I can just see Gaura poking through. There is also Cosmos yet to make an appearance but I remember almost giving up in the past and suddenly weeks later they are coming through. All of these will go into the flower beds in the grounds of our small apartment block. We have a maintenance gardener, but he just mows and slices the hedges with a hedge trimmer. A professional gardening friend of mine refers to him as a ‘Mow, blow and go’ merchant!. If we want anything nice to look at we do it ourselves.
Along with the compost I have also a Grow Bag on order for my tomatoes; they will go out to harden off in a few weeks. The plan is to only grow 3 plants, the others I’ll give away. I’ve already contacted a few friends who will let me know when they expect to pass by on their daily exercise and so I can leave the pots out at the top of the drive for them to collect. Next to the tomato seedlings there is a tray of marigolds. These will also be planted into the flowerbeds outside to add colour and a friendly welcome.
Although I have had a total dislike of broad beans since my school days, I am always impressed with the plants on the allotments. After being assured that that freshly picked young broad beans taste wonderful and nothing like the ones we had on our plates when young, I thought I would try a couple of plants. These are dwarf broad beans, so actually lend themselves well to containers. I found two pots of similar size and have two plants in each pot. The wire is to protect them from the pigeons, of which we have several very fat ones sauntering around the garden looking for tasting tit bits.
Finally, on my Home allotment I’ve prepared a deep pot for carrots. It did have a rather sad patio rose and this has gone into the new shrub border in the apartment grounds. Today I plan to sow carrot seeds with the hope there is just enough compost to top it up. The wire is there to prevent squirrels this time.
There you are, that’s my Stay at Home Dig for Victory patio allotment. At least it will give me lots to blog about, that’s if the compost ever arrives. I had a really bad claustrophobic/trapped attack yesterday afternoon with a desperate need to go to the allotment but I know it’s for my own good and that of all of us to stay well and keep safe.