Early summer, early morning visits, short hoe in hand. Some time after 5am but before six – maybe the best-ever time to be here. I wander through a cloud of insistent bird call. I stop to watch the wren. A young fox scampers past. He – or she – turns around to take me in, then disappears into undergrowth. I stand for a while in its wild wake.
I’ll be back in isolation by the time you read this, so many of May’s mornings were spent preparing the plot. It feels odd to be absent at such a summer time. I’ve been banking on building goodwill with the garden gods. And with Howard.
I stand for a while in the wild wake of a young fox
Plot 29 is pretty much ready for now. Assorted leaves and flowers are sown. Rocket and calendula are up. Sunflowers and nasturtiums, too. Late autumn’s chicories will make room for more seasonal offers. Some will be left for spurting height and astonishing flower.
All the seed rows should be up by the time I return. Thinnings will be eaten or replanted on other plots. Our Fern Verrow sweet pea seedlings are nestled at the base of pristine hazel poles – a gift from Jess at the Biodynamic Association. There were enough sticks and sweet peas to spill over to Rose’s grandma’s spot.
We are growing cosmos here for the first time, a delicate-petalled orange from an organic collective in Slovenia. We are trialling Signe’s ‘Hopi Red Dye’ amaranth, too. There are mixed chards, salads and radishes, assorted dill and saved coriander.
Dill was difficult last year. It would start well and quickly fade, so I’m trying seed in paper tape. I’ve scattered Higgledy Garden dill mammoth, too, as I was seduced by the sound of it.
All in all, I’m now pretty much not needed. I wish I was as independent. Until I return, I will scour Howard and Rose’s Instagrams.
Allan Jenkins’s Plot 29 (4th Estate, £9.99) is out now. Order it for £8.49 from guardianbookshop.com