Signing off

by Lila Das Gupta

It's time to say goodbye! This is going to be my last blog for a while because I'm preparing for exams, so it's a case of 'something's got to give'.

Lila Das GuptaIt's time to say goodbye!  This is going to be my last blog for a while because I'm preparing for exams, so it's a case of 'something's got to give'.

I came dangerously close to giving up the allotment as well since we have raised beds for vegetables at home, but an eleventh hour reprieve came from an unlikely corner. The words of protest from my husband fell on deaf ears: his job is more than full time and at the weekend there are so many demands on both our time. But the lone voice that persuaded me to keep things going was my 15-year-old son. It seems that so many of their childhood memories are bound up with relaxing on the allotment. At least he should be allowed a stab at keeping it going with Dad. How could I refuse?

The truth is that there is a time and place for everything in life and since I've been doing my course I've found that whole chunks of my day get swallowed up. So, we will be trying our hand at 'collective farming' over the next year and we'll wait and see what happens.

Luckily, I am neither territorial nor a micro-manager, so I really don't mind what they plant. We've agreed that the next step is to make a few labour-saving improvements. One half of our plot already has bark paths (good for beetles) which has really helped us to cut down on maintenance, so the remaining grass paths on the other half will be covered over with the same to eliminate mowing or strimming.

The amount of permanent beds will be increased, so we will have more artichokes (can one ever eat too many?) to accompany the long asparagus bed that came into its own this year. Both are delicious and highly ornamental.

At the moment we only have autumn-fruiting raspberries (mostly 'Tulameen' and a few 'Autumn Bliss', both excellent), so we are going to plant some summer ones as well. I've also given over one large, long bed to dahlias, which also occupy a permanent place, so that too is accounted for. New additions to the dahlia bed this year included 'dinner plate' dahlias, which as the name suggests are implausibly large. My neighbour on the plot, thought them very vulgar and showy, which is precisely why I love them!  'Otto's Thrill' is a pale pinky-orange. 'Babylon' red is a tomato red, while 'Babylon' purple is a beautiful magenta red colour.

If I'm very lucky the Central Committee for Agriculture may plant some of my annual flowers for the cutting bed I had planned, but for all I know they could be planning to dig the whole lot up and plant nothing but potatoes!

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Gardeners' World Web User 17/09/2010 at 20:17

Good luck with your exams. We will miss you - when will you be back? I think that your blog was the first one I read when I 'signed up'for my weekly e-mail

Gardeners' World Web User 18/09/2010 at 12:12

Good Luck Lila, you will be sorely missed, you are one of the few bloggers that always reply to our postings. Thank you and hurry back soon. Oh, and sorry about the grumpy old man comment in James' Dahlia blog.

Gardeners' World Web User 18/09/2010 at 15:04

lots of luck and good wishes lila. come back soon

Gardeners' World Web User 19/09/2010 at 14:19

I hope your menfolk will come up trumps and plant great veg. and learn how to cook them too so you can have the healthy meals necessary for the mind to work its best. good luck in that exam.

Gardeners' World Web User 21/09/2010 at 18:07

Thanks for your kind comments everyone, much appreciated. I'll miss sharing gardening tips with you but I hope you have a really good gardening season ahead (not long till it's time to plant sweet peas, followed by broad beans...) I am keeping my head down on a psychology course.

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