Saturday, 26 July 2008

Association angst

Colleagues of mine asked this week if I'm a member of THE allotment association. My blank expression said it all. I didn't know there was one.

But, of course there is an association for allotmenteers. There's an association for everything. Should I/we become associates of all things allotment? And is there a special signal or handshake, so that members can identify one another when undertaking non-gardening activities? Is there a hotline for life or death allotment emergencies or for when the weeds have just become too much to bear and all hope is lost?

I'm a bit wary of 'associations'. Feels like a little bit too much commitment to me. The only associations I have every voluntarily been part of was the Brownies and latterly the Guides and that didn't end happily.

I have just checked out The National Society of Allotments and Leisure Gardeners website ( ) and it doesn't seem too daunting a prospect. I wouldn't have to attend weekly meetings or become a treasurer or anything. For the bargainous price of £20.10 (the £0.10 is the cost of a share in the society) I would be a member of something; a shareholder, which would be a first; the recipient of a quarterly magazine bursting with tips and stuff and able to take advantage of a discount seed scheme, which does sound quite tempting.

I'm going to think about it. I'll let you know what I decide.

Returning to more earthy matters, the allotment is looking good I think. The sweetcorn has started to show itself (see photo above right) which is an exciting development. I thought the really tall plants that have just shot up would be the first to show signs of corn, but no, it's actually the smaller plants that seem ready to throw out their 'cobs'.

The courgettes have swiftly become marrows, and in the course of the last week appear to have doubled in size.

We'll win Nottinghamshire's Biggest Marrow competition yet.