The village allotments are thriving. Some of the larger plots have even
been divided, providing “veggie gardens” for those who want to grow a
bit, but not feed a family. The moles are also alive and well. 2007 was a
very good year for them - wet and full of worms. They have therefore
spread to other plots, so I am not quite as bothered by them. Indeed, my
New Years resolution was to try not to be as molicious as I was.
It is however decision time at the allotment since seeds must now be
chosen and ordered. Over four years, as I have moved from novice to
expert, I have come to realise that when it comes to vegetables,
choosing the right variety is all important. Not only must they suit the
site and soil, above all they must cope with the weather to come.
Now few of you realise we are in the midst of plague years to rival
those of ancient Egypt. First, there were of course the dreaded Moles,
then the year Rabbit and Deer attacked. 2007 saw the Wet Putrefaction -
multicoloured mildews, rusts of many hues, neck rot, root rot, stem
wilt, water-logging and blights of biblical proportions. So I have
determined that if only I can predict the plague of 2008, then choose
seed varieties that will work best, I might at last get my hands on the
Naturally, for the prediction, I consulted my Crystal Mole. Confusingly,
for that is the way of moles, I saw two climatic change prediction
scenarios. Perhaps it might be the Great August Heat, with a storm from
N. Africa blowing swarms of locusts to ravage a green and pleasant land.
Here the strategy would be to plant early ripening varieties, then rush
down and pick just before Mackney Lane is reduced to a few desolate
On balance though, I tend to fancy the moles second prediction - the Big
Chill of 2008. This suggests it could be the coldest April in 300
years, with 5cms. of snow blanketing the allotments on 5 May, the May
Bank Holiday. For this nothing shall be planted until after the Spring
Freeze - late varieties of everything would be the way. With any luck it
could be too cold for moles to breed, and any that survived till May
would be totally unable to tunnel through frozen soil. I like it, and
can tell it’s going to be another great year at the Ponderosa, even
though I seem to have broken my resolution already.