Sunday, 19 May 2013

Gardening: Eggs and cress and flamethrowers

This past week, my wife Claire and I were handed the keys to our very own allotment. But the only thing I’ve ever grown in my life is some cress out of an eggshell with a face painted on it called Fred.

It’s all very exciting, but it quickly dawned on me that I barely know which end of spade is meant to go into the ground, and that I know next to nothing about how to grow things – especially things that I plan on feeding to my family.

Dummies? How rude.

For the last seven years, we’ve lived in a terraced house without a garden, so the idea of having a little bit of green space we can call our own and grow stuff in is a very attractive prospect. Especially as we now have a son who is almost eight months-old.

It’s quite a big plot, so we have decided to share the space with our friends Laura and Colin who seem to know a little bit more about growing things than we do.

On Friday, we went to survey our estate – sorry, that should read ‘state’ – it’s quite a mess. The plot has been left overgrown with grass and weeds, so we’re pretty daunted by the initial steps.

I was having a read through a book about starting an allotment that Claire took out of the library, and it said that I could use a flamethrower to clear the ground. A flamethrower! I thought that people only watched gardening programmes to stare at the breasts of Charlie Dimmock/Alan Titchmarsh (delete as appropriate) – I had no idea that there was the prospect of incendiary weapons.

Of course, flamethrowers were vetoed by every other sane person around, so instead I think we’re going to roll some plastic sheet over it and let everything die beneath. I prefer the scorched-earth policy, but this is a democracy and I was clearly outvoted.

But we’re not going to let it stop us growing stuff. I had the idea of getting loads of eggs, filling them up with cotton wool and growing cress in them. But the idea of getting some grow-bags to grow some potatoes for our first season seemed like a more popular idea.

This article was originally posted on Don't Know Allotment.

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