Plot 29

No plant­ing yet, but there’s much plea­sure in plan­ning ahead,

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

Epiphany 2019. The high tide has turned, the win­ter just start­ing to ebb, though there’ll be dark days to come, of course. It’s an aus­pi­cious time in the bio­dy­namic cal­en­dar. The day we spray the Three Kings prepa­ra­tion and the plot is scented with frank­in­cense and myrrh.

It’s also Howard’s birth­day, so we’ll slice some galette des rois from the French patis­serie and take it in turns wear­ing a pa­per crown. Stir­ring is usu­ally done af­ter com­ing straight from work, sit­ting in the semi dark and cold in of­fice clothes, plus our golden head­gear. This year it’s a Sun­day so we’ll be wrapped up warmer.

I am ne­go­ti­at­ing a new cow dung de­liv­ery, hop­ing Farmer Tom will drop off a few sacks on his next trip to town. For now I will mostly spread the muck around and dig it deeper later, de­pend­ing on the weather.

Jan­uary is the month I al­most long for glass, a green­house, a poly­tun­nel. In my mind’s eye I have trays Happy re­turns: Howard stir­ring Three Kings prep, com­plete with pa­per crown of sweet pea seedlings get­ting ahead of the year. In real life I don’t cloche or cover the plot, but still get ex­cited about any­thing re­silient that grows well with­out help. I will al­ways sow win­ter chervil for its anise taste and as­ton­ish­ing green.

I am al­ready ob­sess­ing about the year’s first plant­ing and sow­ing and have stacked pack­ets of seed in the kitchen, on shelves to them­selves in an­other room.

Our Oc­to­ber broad beans are in and up, shal­lots, slower gar­lic and onion sets, too. If you haven’t done yours and in­tend to, or­der now for Fe­bru­ary or March. I am start­ing to itch for potato fairs and buy­ing more broad beans (maybe Ex­press or Witkiem, I’m un­de­cided). You can chit early pota­toes, too, by the end of this month.

Hop­ing you have a happy new gar­den­ing year.

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