20 June 2021
I moved to Oxford (UK) in 2016 and we applied for a plot in local allotment in April 2017. After waiting for nearly 9 months, we were assigned a plot in Jan. 2018. I knew very little about planting seeds and growing vegetables when I started and every year I have been learning something new. For example, I recently learned that it is best to plant seeds in small tray inside our house, let it grow into a small plant for few days and then plant it outside. Last years, I directly planted seeds in the plant and the unforgiving weather of Oxford meant that most of them never became a plant. I also recently learned that it is best to sow pumpkin seeds flat instead of vertical position to avoid sowing them upside down. Furthermore, clearing weeds and unwanted growth every week is simpler and quicker than doing it after every few weeks. My confidence in growing fruits and vegetables are growing and I have started to dream of doing this in large scale at some point in my life.
We have harvested reasonable amount of fruits and vegetables from this small plot in the last 3 years. During the lockdown of COVID-19 pandemic, we greatly benefitted from the health benefits of working on a plot. One would never believe that the taste of freshly picked fruits and vegetables have a heavenly taste which is often missing in the fruits and vegetables found in supermarkets. This difference in taste is most likely because fruits of one's own labour are tastier than fruits of someone else's labour.
We let insects, slugs, birds, etc. have their share of our fruits and vegetables by not using things (e.g. nets, salt, etc.) that deter them. I have noticed that they only eat their share and leave the rest for us. For example, when we harvested our strawberries yesterday, we noticed that around 30% of the strawberries were half eaten or damanged by slugs and insects. The remaining were left intact for us. So, we picked them up and savoured the heavenly taste of fresly picked strawberry. We would not mind if the insects, slugs and birds ate more (or almost all) of our vegetables -- at least someone is enjoying our fruits of labour while we enjoy the health benefits of labour. (Update 26-June-2021) I have also noticed that if a branch contains 4-5 ripe strawberries, only 1 or 2 of those are eaten by slugs and insects and the remaining are left intact for us. The insects and slugs in our plot are content with what they can eat and therefore wise.
Here are some photographs showing our fruits of labour.