It's been a while, but work and family have taken precedence over the plot for the last month or so. Busy working so everything was done before we left for a vacation in France, then flat out working to catch up once we got back. And during all this time, the allotment was neglected.
There's plenty to get done in terms of strimming and weeding, but to be honest, I'm almost past caring. Some bloggers continue to put a positive spin on things, but in my part of the world, 2012 has been a washout from day one.
Heavy clay soils may retain nutrients better than light, sandy ones, but there's a big downside. The wet start to the year made the plot waterlogged and completely unworkable, then the short, sharp, sunny spells have dried it to concrete-like solidity.
So the weather, combined with the slugs, plus the late germination of many plants, has made this year the toughest I've known. There will be no harvest of parsnips, pears, gooseberrys, or plums. The potatoes succumbed to 'Blackleg' , the sweetcorn has been got at and the squash probably won't have enough time to ripen fully before the frosts come.
It's not all doom and gloom, though. We have harvested a few potatoes, the carrots have done well and the early strawberries were good. And judging by the flower cones that have developed on the Bramling Cross vines, I may even get a small hop harvest too, although these minor triumphs are little consolation for the time and effort already expended.
But worry not, although I've virtually given up on 2012, I'm not actually giving up. 2013 will bring with it a new canvas and when the seed catalogues arrive, this year's disasters will become a distant memory.
I always try to pick up some seed when away and our recent trip to France rewarded me with a couple of packets;
Panais De Guernesey - despite the name, is a traditional French parsnip.
Oignon De Paris - a white skinned French onion.
I believe both are available from seed companies over here, but it's nice to have some foreign seed packets among the plethora of the usual suspects.
More about the holiday in a separate post.