After evaluation of this years pumpkin setting I feel my groundwork was successful, the plants are thriving in the space and stretching out setting multiple fruit across the ground bed.
I set corn and 12 twelve cucurbits in a ten foot bed, these have all filled the space to provide a fabulous selection of fruit. My treasure is much smaller but I have visited once every few weeks to water the greenhouse and weed, so those everyday waterers and weeders are able to push it everyday. I have been working on home projects, that have been set aside as we have been blessed with another daughter, who is finally finding her feet!
Whilst I rely more on nature to produce my plants, I have time to nurture my seedlings, so I visit if the rainfall is low, I really would like to work a space daily but my garden is our oasis. A summer haven, we open the doors into the garden and relax and play on the warm days, we grow a few home staples but a few tomatoes, nasturtiums and corn is hardly enough spade for the plants we set.
I sow everything but I do not panic if something vanishes, I just prefer to see what treasure our efforts deliver. This means every year is different, my plan is to see what succeeds without daily visits, the crops that will make the most of what is already there.
I do not stress as I know with the right conditions eventually I will find the space and process that I can utilise more frequently. However I prefer the forest style, planting in layers to restrict the weeds, vegetables are different as were they are set promotes weeds. Despite this my straw mulch suppresses the small mass of weeds and I rarely find more than a dandelion, where evasive weeds re-occur I can easily deal with them as the straw acts as bark would in no dig.
My energy is put into the seedlings, planting the strongest and nurturing the stragglers moving everybody on until they catch up or blossom in their own space. I can fill my greenhouse, plant what is needed and enjoy seeing what is delivered in our harvest!
This allows me time for everything, so the goals are achievable and we can share the process of growing something new. Plant seedlings in smaller spacing to avoid gluts of one crop, transplant the stragglers to maximise the crop, my version of thinning without wasting seedlings. I do not plant what we will not eat as the whole point is enjoying the process.
Do not get me wrong, I admire the pristine rows of set crops however I could not eat twenty courgettes so if I receive one every week it will not go to waste. If the next plant turns out to be something different what a bonus!
There is something glorious about the leaves and flowers and sets, the Gunnera of the allotment it is great to find the hidden gems set behind the grandiose foliage. One day I will grow a Halloween decoration the size of a tractor tyre, until then I will see what our efforts bring!
Decorative or for additions to our table, it fits my need to grow with my children!