Monday, 10 January 2011

Blue skies and garlic paranoia

It's the first day of weekend sunshine down the allotement for ages. A few more people appear... one says they saw me in the village yesterday sporting mud caked wellies which reminded them to check on their plot. I've never been an inspiration before... certainly not a gardening one.

Having visited yesterday I'd intended to sort out the autumn fruiting raspberries - new shoots are sprouting from last year's canes so it's time to get shot of the old ones. The lock-up is such a mess I couldn't find the secateurs so attacked them with a blunt pair of shears instead. It probably did more harm than good, shocking the hell out of the canes with each juddering snap of the shears, bouncing off instead of slicing through.

Having only planted the garlic belatedly in December, there's been no sign of growth but I did spot this...

Something's dug up a couple of cloves, leaving them on the surface and nibbling away at each one! I noticed the same light nibbling to the tiny onion sets the other day. It's deflating... what if all the cloves have been secretly dug and spirited away and I wait patiently for growth and none arrives? I feel defeated before the growing season has even begun. The garlic was the allotment success last year, producing some fat beauties of Purple Wight - which we're still using today, despite not storing well apparently. I feel an allotment year without garlic is a very dissapointing one.

Cheered up by returning to a home-made crab tart from The River Cottage Fish Book (containing prized Purple Wight). It's preparation last night was fraught and involved many pastry-based set backs, finally plucking it out of the oven at midnight.

Followed it up with Nigel Slater's jelly for grown ups which when unmoulded didn't exactly wobble but instead gently swayed under its own weight as if scored by the 101 Strings Orchestra playing Magic of Hawaii.

All in all a good day... just don't mention the garlic.

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