Plot 29

Plants are fad­ing now, but it’s never over un­til it’s over.

The Observer Magazine - - Gardens - By Al­lan Jenk­ins

Plan­ning for win­ter plant­ing is an awk­ward thing for me. I am mostly not good at it, mostly for good rea­sons. It is to do with space, pri­mar­ily. Plot 29, or my part of it at least, is about 20-odd square me­tres. Ro­ta­tion is tough. And I tend to let plants live a longer life. To leave, say, a few kales and Ja­panese mus­tards to bloom. It is a thing I learned from Jane Scot­ter at Fern Ver­row farm: a re­spect for things you grow.

There are chicories we sowed last win­ter that have been bloom­ing through­out the year and now we have a few newer plants that are fast spi­ralling up­wards, soon to be throw­ing per­fect blue-flow­ered spikes.

In­creas­ingly I am find­ing that there is much beauty, in fad­ing, too.

I don’t have the killer in­stinct you need to be su­per-ef­fi­cient at ro­tat­ing space. Rip­ping out and mak­ing way isn’t my way. It’s never over un­til it’s over, ap­pears to be my gar­den­ing mantra. I am also fas­ci­nated by sav­ing seed.

I tend not to grow things ngs that can be bought cheaply aply or are eas­ily avail­able in shops un­less, like peas and beans, a few po­ta­toes, su­per fresh­ness takes them to an­other taste level. That said, we re­cently cleared a cou­ple of patches of ground (I couldn’t in all con­science call them beds).

We have sown them now with au­tumn aquadulce broad beans and left space for a few al­li­ums. So this week­end we will be plant­ing a cou­ple of (Isle of Wight) pur­ple gar­lic, some (Elec­tric) red onion sets and shal­lots. It seems I’ve de­cided I can’t wait­can’t wait for the new year.

Truth­fully, we’ve never had much luck with them, ex­cept one bumper crop some years ago. But there is a small patch on the edge of the plot that has been un­used. Even in mid-Novem­ber, I am in need of new green.

Al­lan Jenk­ins’s Plot 29 (4th Es­tate, £9.99) is out now. Or­der it for £8.49 from guardian­book­shop.com

Know your onions: there is still time to plant gar­lic, shal­lots and onion sets

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