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Monday, June 25, 2012
A week shy of midsummer’s day we were both at the allotment for the zillionth time that week, trying to weigh down the polytunnel.
A bitter wind lashed the plot, the shed door banged (taking the heads off my newly-planted marigolds) and my Co-Allotmenteer clung to the flapping material like the footage you see of climbers trying to pitch a tent on Everest.
Allotmenteering, I thought – not for the first time – has to be the worst hobby in the history of pastimes.
Surely anything... recreating the Eifel Tower in used matchsticks, knitting scenes from the Bible... would be preferable.
“Forget this,” I said. (Inserting the word “forget” for something less wholesome.) “If we don’t harvest something from this ruddy allotment soon, I’m going to throw the towel in.”
We surveyed the rain-sodden earth.
“But what?” asked my Co-Allotmenteer.
“The spuds!” I announced.
“But they haven’t finished flowering,” informed my Co-Allotmenteer. Now Game of Thrones has finished, he’s been boning up on gardening magazines.
“I don’t care,” I told him. “Get the spade.”
In all, our first potato harvest weighed 200 grams, consisting of micro Bonsai spuds the size of peas.
We didn’t need a trug to get them home; a coat pocket was room enough.
But, served on a saucer, covered in butter with a sprig of home-grown mint, they tasted sweet, nutty and delicious. Better, definitely, than a Parisian landmark made of Swan Vestas.
Clematis armandii is a great favourite of mine but, it has its drawbacks. First of all, it is not the hardiest member of its tribe, and being evergreen, once its foliage becomes frost damaged this becomes a permanent feature.