A novice's guide to producing his own food

Finally … we start

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With no firm plans about how to lay out the allotment, let alone what to plant, I nonetheless felt I had to do something positive.  My excitement over the past few days was getting on the entire family’s nerves, and I was itching to get going. 

But what? I decided that despite my complete lack of allotment knowledge, there was one thing I could do – dig. Surely I couldn’t go wrong with that. It’s a given that every allotment owner spends most of their time sinking a spade into the ground, and turning over soil. 

So I set off with three of the kids – Kurt, Janek and Anya – and an assortment of spades and rakes. Everyone (not just me) seemed enthusiastic, and all were keen to do a spot of hard graft. 

Despite appearances, Anya, Janek and Kurt were keen to get involved

Despite appearances, Anya, Janek and Kurt were keen to get involved


I decided (wrongly, as I would discover later) that we would dig two long strip-like beds to plant potatoes. Each would run the entire width of the plot (about five metres). 

Kurt and Janek eagerly grabbed a spade each, and started turning over the soil according to my master plan, while Anya busied herself pulling up weeds wherever she could find them. As for me? Well, I would occasionally commandeer a spade to hurry the process along, but apart from that, I was basically the “gaffer”. Brilliant! It was almost as if I planned it that way. 

Within an hour, the work was done, and we stood back to admire our handiwork. The beds were dug, but they were so crooked, I felt slightly ashamed. What would my fellow, infinitely-more-experienced allotment-growers say when they saw our efforts? 

“Ach, what-the-heck, if they don’t like it, that’s their problem,” I said to myself by way of reassurance. At least the soil’s turned over ready for some spuds. 

Our two skinny beds were ready in an hour

Our two skinny beds were ready in an hour

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