Saying Goodbye to the Allotment Garden

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A month travelling through Portugal

I don’t take a lot of time off — my work hours are up to 12 hours per day and I work over the weekends most of the time too. So when we do go on holiday we go big. Last year we spent five weeks in Washington State and right now we’re at the beginning of a month in Portugal. I’m writing this to you from a traditional Portuguese apartment, the bedroom window open to a small inner courtyard.

Leaving the garden just as the berries are ripening

On the agenda is the magical village of Sintra, the caves and beaches of the Algarve, and exploring the many villages peppered throughout the country. We’re going to have a great time I’m sure but I cannot believe that I’ve left my garden for such a long time during peak season.

The berries are coming on thick and fast and July is one of the most enjoyable times to spend outside on the Isle of Man. The Midgies aren’t biting as much, the weather is warm, and seeds germinate and grow with such ease and vigor.

Saying Goodbye to the Allotment Garden

Last week’s ripe Pineberries — white strawberries that taste a little like pineapple

Garden Sitters

One of my closest friends is staying at the house and keeping my greenhouse and house plants going. It should be easy considering I put in some DIY Ollas for the tomatoes and basil. She’s taking care of the cats too and they seem to be happy enough from the photos and videos. I’m example A of crazy cat lady and those fur balls are my fur kids. I think being an avid gardener usually goes hand in hand with loving animals.

Saying Goodbye to the Allotment Garden

Though the honeybees are going to have to fend for themselves, my allotment garden is another matter. The last time I went on such a long trip I came back to a jungle. Strawberry runners had colonised all of the paths and weeds were trying hard to compete with bolted radishes and spinach. It was a complete nightmare.

Saying Goodbye to the Allotment Garden

Ollas are terracotta self-waterers that are easy to DIY. Click the image to see how to make them.

Keeping the Allotment Garden in Shape

This time I’ve asked a dear friend if he could look after my plot for me. He had to give up his own last year due to joint issues but is feeling more fit these days. After our meet up on Monday morning I think he’s pretty excited to help — and pick all the blueberries and raspberries that are beginning to ripen.

We had a walk around the garden looking at what’s growing and chatting about what needs doing. I’m going to wager that it’s going to be in better shape than I left it when I return.

Plans for August

If you haven’t watched the video I embedded at the top of this post please do. It shows what the allotment looks like now and I’ll be making another video of what it looks like when I get back. You can also subscribe to my YouTube channel for more videos.

As for August, I’ll be returning to sowing autumn vegetables — lots of leafy greens especially. Spinach, Pak Choi, Lettuce, and Rocket to name a few. These are pretty much missing in my garden right now since I’d actually planned to be away and chose not to grow them.

Saying Goodbye to the Allotment Garden

Beetroot can be grown from spring to autumn. It overwinters well too for early spring greens.

My Last Long Summer Holiday

The next month is going to be great — I need some time off and the sunshine is amazing down here. There’s a lot to be said about good food, wine, landscapes, and learning about a new culture. After this trip I know I’ll feel revitalised and ready to begin the second half of the gardening year.

Still, I’ve decided that this is the last long summer holiday I’m taking. I should really be home digging up early potatoes and picking sweet red raspberries. That means that next year we might take a short trip or two in the summer but that’s it.

I’m making a pact to myself and to my garden. From here on out these long trips will be planned for January and February. After all, there’s plenty of sunshine south of equator too.

Saying Goodbye to the Allotment Garden

Pentland Javelin Early Potatoes & Majestic Purples

Saying Goodbye to the Allotment Garden

Red Raspberries are beginning to ripen

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