Its bank holiday Monday, and up until 2 o’clock I watched the lovely sunshine though the windows at work. But when 2pm came, I was off on a mission to the allotment to get the peas sown.
According to my planner, I was supposed to get the peas planted mid March, but with the awful weather we’ve had, I thought it best to err on the side of caution and hold off until we have some finer warmer weather.
Armed with more bamboo canes than you could shake a stick at, I headed along to the allotment. I’m growing two varieties of peas, one dwarf and one climbing. The dwarf variety is called Hurst Greenshaft and will grow to about 50cm high. It’s a second early variety and if the birds don’t eat them first, they should start cropping in about 14 weeks. The climbing variety is called Alderman and is an old-fashioned Victorian type. It has the ability to grow up to about 7 feet tall but as I’m only 5 foot 3 inches tall, I’ll be growing it to about 6 feet! This will be my main crop pea and should be ready to harvest in about 15-16 weeks.
I absolutely adore eating peas fresh from their pods and I’ve already decided to make the Spring Pea Risotto Raymond Blanc made on the BBC series Kew on a Plate once they’re cropping. I know I’m taking a bit of a risk planting the peas direct, but for the number of plants I’d actually need, it seemed the best choice, and if no seedlings have grown in about 2 weeks I’ll assume the mice have eaten them heartily and I’ll sow some more.
As I was working away, another allotment holder came along to the plot and very generously shared one of her water Irises with me to plant in Nature corner. They’ve been making their own wildlife pond so she had one spare, she even gave me some aquatic compost to use to get it planted up straight away. How nice is that? I’m delighted with my unexpected gift, it’s the first shared plant I’ve received at the allotment so it’ll hold a very special memory for me. I really like the idea of allotment holders being able to share their plants and produce, it gives a real community spirit to the adventure of allotmenteering.