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A special delivery of seeds from Ukraine

The seed packages have arrived from Ukraine. Two deliveries to two addresses, work and home, to give them every chance. Many packets from organicseeds.top, in the centre of the war-torn country. Of course I over-ordered, but I feel a need to support them. There’s our favourite Painted Mountain corn to replace the Mexican blue maize […]

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A Greek island alive with bees and blooms

A land of scurrying lizards and the silent hawks who hunt them. Of thrumming bees and butterflies over the heavy-scented herbs. Our taxi driver has about 100 hives, he says. He hopes for 30kg of honey from each, flavoured with wild lavender in early summer, wild thyme later in the year We first came to […]

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The growing season gets into full swing | Allan Jenkins

June: the midsummer month. When the last soft seedlings can grow outside. When courgettes and squashes can be sown direct. These are the days of high sun and garden glory. Some experts will tell you to sow two courgette or summer squash seeds together and later remove the weaker one. I have never had that […]

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The joy of dawn on the plot

Early summer, mid May, 7am. I am here to water the seed beds, to make rainbows with the hose. I am joined by a spotted woodpecker. There’s a pair nesting nearby. A parakeet streaks past at head height. A perfect plot morning. I am here a lot at this time, sowing, building structures for the […]

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Out of the mouths of babes…

One of the unspoken joys of an older man’s life is an ability to underestimate a son or daughter. Bear with me and I will explain. Kala has lived near next door to us for a few years now. We see her in her garden. Watering mostly or cuddling her cat, deadheading roses, obsessing over […]

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Back to life on the allotment

The back is broken of the heavy lifting. Howard and mine, too. But we are in. Branch Hill allotments are near unrecognisable. The wildness is dimmed. But the organic gardeners are gathering and this will soon change. We are greeted at the gate by stacks of sacks. We have ordered 50 bags of “heavy horse […]

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The joy of planting bulbs

I was never much one for potted bulbs. The allotment was for vegetables, and fruits and annual flowers. Our terrace had been a cascade of clematis, climbing roses, jasmines and rhododendron. Walls covered with flowering trellis. A country garden on a small city rooftop. With the arrival of Plot 29, Henri took over at home. […]

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May means the plot is getting growing | Allan Jenkins

May: the month of hope. The time of higher temperatures and longer days. But be wary of cooler soil. The rush to sow seed is strong. Try to slow down a little longer until you are sure in places where cold can linger. That said, of course, the sowing list is long. May is your […]

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The green is vibrant in the quiet before full colour arrives | Allan Jenkins

The moment before all the flowers. When the grass begins to re-grow. When new life explodes. A piece then in praise of green. Of course, I love the giant cherry tree by the bus stop. I obsess over the buds as they unfurl. I wait impatiently for delicate clouds of whites and creams and pinks. […]

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At last, the allotment will soon be open…

Our allotment orders are in. Many sacks of well-rotted heavy horse manure and a ‘dumpy bag’ of ‘superior soil conditioner’ (for which read more manure, plus grit and composted bark). By the time you read this, we hope to be digging it in on the plot. A wise woman once told me you need cow […]