Allotment column: courgettes and manure

Allotment column: courgettes and manure

by Sian Bryant.

It was probably the point where I realised my gardening gloves had developed a hole without me noticing, rendering me incapable of scratching my nose without smearing dirt all over my face that the realisation dawned that this ‘good life’ malarkey was far from glamorous.

Standing in my plot, fork in hand, debating whether to tackle another award-winning crop of weeds I had managed to cultivate successfully in time to avoid the downpour that was brewing, I had to concede this allotment business was requiring a fair bit of effort.

That’s not to say it hasn’t been worth it, my oh my what a summer we had! I was still picking tomatoes off the vines in mid-September, the beans just kept coming and who knew a courgette could be so versatile? I was very close to investing in a spiraliser at one point having exhausted the internet with searches for ‘inventive ways with courgettes’. 

Baked, frittered, chutnied, pickled, it was a revelation in the Bryant household, although to be fair I don’t think I’d get the courgette cake past the kids again any time soon. I was struggling to give them away in the end although the local pub seemed grateful for a couple of carrier bags full!

It really was a fabulous start to our allotment tenure. However, our rookie error was probably in the planning. What do you do with the plot during the cold, wet months of winter? Turns out we should have been thinking about that before October.

When I asked one of the many friendly faces from the lottie squad what to do with the plot at this time of year the definitive retort was ‘manure!’.


They all swear by it as the thing that puts the zing in earth, ready to go again in the spring. They could even recommend me a good supplier. In the interests of bulk buying, some of them get truck loads of the stuff delivered to the allotment and then divvy it up between them by the barrow load. 

Or there is always mail order, I was told. Imagine, poo through the post! Don’t suppose that would be willingly taken in by the neighbours. Still, all part of the learning curve and I am a firm believer in you get out what you put in so if I have to spend my days shovelling the brown stuff, then that is what I shall do. Wish me luck.