It has been a number of months since my last blog post. Summer has been and gone, the weather has changed and my life has changed along with it.
It has been the hottest summer here in Ireland for over a decade. The days have been long hot and the nights humid and sleepless. I’ve seen more scantily clad, sunburnt bodies than I care to remember. I’ve been to barbecues and beer gardens, birthday parties and Boston and it’s safe to say that I will never forget this summer for as long as I live.
My poor allotment bore the brunt of my hectic life the past few months, with everything else I’ve had going on, it faded in to the background. That’s not to say however, that nothing has grown or that it doesn’t continue to thrive.
It has been a summer of rhubarb, non stop rhubarb, mountains of it, jars of it, bowls and bowls and bowls of it smothered in custard and vanilla ice cream.
I’ve harvested giant beetroots and impressive red onions, pitiful garlic and beautiful pink shallots, red and green lettuces, raspberries and strawberries and every little thing tasted as sweet as only food you grow yourself can taste.
I’ve visited other community gardens, some here in Dublin, some across the water in Boston, and enjoyed the inspiration I found in the ingenuity and creativity of fellow gardeners.
I’ve sold some plot grown veggies on a stall at a summer festival.
I’ve had the pleasure of tasting huge courgettes roasted on a barbeque in a sun soaked walled garden surrounded by friends and family.
I’ve seen a beehive up close and personal and I witnessed the workers tend to the queen, among their combs of wax and honey.
I’ve had the pleasure of spending an hour on my plot with a pheasant, who pecked around my herb garden while I pulled weeds on the other side of the plot. She would stop every now and then to eye me suspiciously, then carry on about her business.
I’ve witnessed my dad become a rhubarb and ginger jam making machine.
I’ve cursed the loss of my snowball onions to mildew and rot and lamented the complete failure of my garlic.
I’ve taken a swig of a can of fizzy orange and felt something furry crawling around my tongue. It was a wasp. The absolute terror.
I’ve learned that no matter what happens, even if you abandon your garden for a while, even if your world as you know it ends up on the compost heap, that life goes on and you will always get from a garden more than you put into it. I may have been away for a while but my plot is as productive as ever and now, here I am, in the heart of harvest season; I’ve done less in my garden this summer than ever before and it still provides great bounty.
I have many plans for the plot over the coming months so it’s time to get back to basics, do some digging, some weeding and tidy the place up. I’ve planted a bed of winter salads, pak choi and red mustard, I plan on getting some kale in too and some spring cabbages for overwintering. Before we know it, it’ll be winter and I’ll be munching on my parsnips and my jerusalem artichokes but for now I hope to enjoy what’s left of this long, long, long, hot summer.