Dig This – Class dismissed

Dig1Must do better: Alastair Gilmour’s year in the allotment…

Summing up the allotment year is a bit like discussing an end-of-term school report with your form teacher. You know you’ve done your best, there are trying circumstances that can hold you back, and you know yourself what you did right and where you went wrong.

“Aah, Dig This, another year that I’ll have to mark you down as ‘could do better’.”

“Yes sir.”

“Let’s take things one by one. That area where you planted… what was it… broccoli. It was chest high in stalks and leaves, but produced very little in the way of florets. It’s too fertile, Dig It; you’ve been piling in the compost and manure willy nilly.”

“Sorry sir, it does seem to have gone a bit awry. The soil is a magnificent texture though, sir.”

“It’s no good having ‘magnificent texture’ as you call it, Dig This, if your florets are spindly and horribly scrawny. All the goodness has gone into the rest of the plant, it’s forgotten how to do its business properly – a bit like you, Dig This.”

“I’m told your leeks are once again nothing to write home about, Dig This. They’re not what I’d call bad, just a little bit…little.”

“Yes, sir, I know, but a very cold March checked them for a time then they were somewhat parched during the hot summer, but I think they managed to recover. Sir.”

“It’s always excuses with you, Dig This, isn’t it? If it’s not a cold, wet spring, it’s a hot, dry summer. It’s always too much or two little. Never a happy medium.”

Dig2“My soft fruit was good this year though, sir.”

“Mmmm, granted, and how many raspberries did you pull?”

“Thirty eight pounds, sir.”

“Dig This, how many times have I told you lot in 4B that we’re in 21st Century Europe?

“Cough… kilograms, sir. A total of 17.2365 kilos, sir.”

“That’s better. Yes, I can see you’ve put some effort in that direction, Dig This. Your beetroot appears to be fine. Peas – always your strong point, but again, don’t get complacent. And it says here ‘the hens ate my sprouts’. That’s a lame excuse, Dig This.”

“It’s true sir, they kept getting out and under the netting. It’s very frustrating sir.”

“You lot in 4B are very frustrating, Dig This. Take this away with you and learn something from it. Have I ever told you about my pastinaca sativa, Dig This? Ahh, there’s a fine show-bench exhibit.”

“Parsnips, sir?”

“Call them what you will, Dig This. Call them what you will. But do better next time around. Right, run along then and send in young Titchmarsh.”

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