All in all the allotment hasn't perhaps had quite the amount of care and attention it could have had this year. Early planting was somewhat hampered by the fact that I couldn't bend down, and P's arrival coincided pretty closely with the time we should have been thinning and planting out those crops we did manage to sow. Once here, he also swiftly put paid to my fond ideas of pottering over to the allotment with the pram on balmy summer afternoons to do a bit of weeding/watering, etc. For one thing, it is virtually impossible to get the pram onto our plot on your own without tipping the poor little blighter out of it and into nextdoor's raspberry canes. For another, P has a very limited amount of patience when it comes to lying in his pram and being ignored, and soon starts shouting if you try to go off and do things which don't involve him. For a while the sling seemed to be the answer, but he soon reached a weight which made my knees buckle even if I wasn't trying to haul watering-cans about at the same time, and the bigger he gets the more difficult it is to see/reach past him to do anything. These days too, small hands shoot out to grab anything that comes within reach and convey it inexorably towards his mouth, whether the thing in question is edible or not.
So, gone are the days of spending all Sunday morning working away together while listening to the Archers omnibus, and these days allotmenting tends to be the odd half hour here and there, as a result of which a few things have gone a bit awry. The carrots, for instance, tasted ok, but since I never got chance to thin them out, quite a few took on interesting corkscrew forms where they had been pressing against one another. For the same reason we ended up with one raised bed which was wall-to-wall lettuce, all of which bolted much faster than we could eat it. The greatest disappointment, however, has been the cabbages. Unfortunately our homemade protective nets rather had the opposite effect to that intended, since they seem to have trapped a butterfly on the inside. As a result we ended up with skeletal cabbages and a bumper crop of caterpillars.
But nevertheless, all things considered our first proper season hasn't been too bad. As well as the lettuce and carrots we've had spring onions, radishes, and strawberries. Admittedly some of the radishes got forgotten and ended up the size of small turnips, but what the heck. Our unintentionally patriotic potatoes (three sorts: red, white, and blue) produced a reasonable crop, though they would no doubt have done better if we'd been more conscientious about earthing them up, and we have three little bags* of shallots hanging in the garage - plenty for our purposes. A summer of "sunshine and showers" also meant we spent most of July and August knee-deep in courgettes and runner beans and this week we harvested most of the borlotti beans which are now drying and waiting for me to find out precisely what one does with them.
Not too bad all things considered. Time to start thinking about next year now.
*For "bags" read "fishnet pop-socks". Well, where are you supposed to get little string bags from?