May 3 2012 By Elspeth Scott
Attached to the gate to the allotment site there is a sign informing tenants of a drought and hosepipe ban which looks more than a little absurd at this point, after two weeks of almost constant rain.
The pathways to the entrance are flooded and, needless to say, much of my plot, apart from the raised beds, is under water.
Most of all I am concerned about the potatoes, which I deliberately planted in deep trenches almost a month ago, to make sure that they did not go thirsty over the summer. A few green shoots have appeared and I am hoping that the rest of the plants were far enough on not to be affected by all the water.
One variety I am trying out this year is a heritage salad potato, originating in 1885, called Belle de Fontenay which should produce tasty pale yellow potatoes for the summer.
One advantage of the cooler spring weather that we are experiencing at the moment is that the apple blossom (oicture) seems to be lasting a little longer than usual, as its brief display of pink buds and white blossom is such a pleasure each year.
My next vegetable crop will be the broad beans, but in the meantime I have been harvesting sorrel, which I am growing for the first time on the plot, and adding the young leaves to soups.
These have a mild lemon flavour, as does its much smaller and prettier relative, the common wood sorrel that I tasted whilst walking in woods when I was in the north of England over Easter. Both plants contain oxalic acid which is considered slightly toxic, although the leaves can be eaten raw in salads or cooked in the same way as spinach.