It's that time of the year when gardens and allotments are viewed through misty, rose tinted spectacles and anything and everything seems possible. All will be perfect in the coming year and the slate showing the mistakes and trials of 2010 is wiped clean.
The miserable weather of the past few weeks has given me plenty of time to think about my allotment in the coming year. I have new beds to plant up, inspiration to try new things courtesy of Mark Diacono's book, A Taste of the Unexpected, plus a stern reminder from myself that I hardly managed to do anything on my Incredible Edibles project last year, having only added Fuchsia fruit to my list of new tastes (yum) and nothing to my grown first time (groan more like).
All the seeds are on order (Threadspider and I have decided to share again this year) and already a couple of boxes of promise have arrived with more due to arrive any day now. I was also given the happy task of spending £50 on whatever I wanted to trial from the Victoriana catalogue courtesy of Fennel and Fern (more on this to come).
I also have some plot re-designing to do: not only to add the new patches into my plan, but one half of my original plot was changed last year from 2 major beds with each subdivided into 6 or 7 mini plots to just the two. I'm not very happy with this new arrangement so I'm thinking of dividing both of them into two with my planned edible hedges of Fuchsia and Japanese quince. I'd like a path each side of them so that I won't need to do much traipsing over my sticky clay soil at planting and hoeing times: I just need to source a supply of (preferably free or very cheap) paving slabs to make this a reality.
Other new crops for me this year (or next perhaps depending on how they do) will be wineberry, honeyberry, kai lan and blackcurrants. Threadspider and I will be trialling a garden centre sourced pot grown blackcurrant 'Ebony', vs its nursery grown bare root counterpart. I have some home saved chilli seeds to nurture for the first time. I also have a freebie raised bed to assemble so I can experiment with no-dig salads vs my usual method of growing them. Both Threadspider and I found Charles Dowding's talk in Bath on the no-dig method most inspirational last year and now it's my turn to see if it'll work for me.
It's also time for more flowers on the plot, particularly to attract bees. I've chosen a wildflower seed mix, plus an artichoke to grace the new bed towards the bottom of my plot. This was where I discovered dozens of old bags of soot courtesy of my predecessor, so I'm concerned that growing crops here will take up too much of the heavy metals which may have accumulated. I also have plans for a massive cutting garden of Dahlias (tubers) and Asters (from seed), but acknowledge I may have double the size of plot available in my mind's eye, rather than what's there in reality ;)
So the dreams are all there, now it's time to take them a little more towards reality and draw up a new plot plan. And then the hard work begins :)
What dreams and plans do you have for your plot or garden this year?