Allotment haiku #2 plus planting update for spring


Nephrotoxic leaves.
Thinking of rhubarb crumble,
pink, heaped with sugar.


As some of you will remember, we inherited an allotment last September, which was full of weeds and rubbish. The heavy clearance and digging is now complete, thanks to my husband, Victor, and son, Joshua.

Since then, Victor has gone on to plant all sorts of goodies, the rhubarb being the soil’s first edible offering of the year. The garlic is also coming along well, so I’ll soon be able to stink out my fellow singers with my Mediterranean-style breath.

Everything is probably a month behind, due to the recalcitrant weather, and something ate our strawberry plants, but we are looking forward to potatoes, broad beans, peas, parsnips, carrots, onions, shallots, asparagus (no dead cow buried underneath), radishes, rocket, parsley, cabbage, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, artichokes, sea kale, raspberries, redcurrents, blueberries, blackcurrants, gooseberries, strawberries (replacement plants), apples, hazelnuts, figs, and red grapes.

Over the next few months, we’re hoping to see a reduction in our monthly grocery bill, as well as enjoying the restorative effects of a diet rich in freshly picked produce, with all those superb extra vitamins and minerals. And I’m going to have to learn to make jam and chutney.

Allotment: April (Year 1)

Mr and Mrs Pink’s Experiment

To assess the observational skills of present-day Homo sapiens, Mrs Pink and I go shopping on a Saturday morning, leaving our clothes behind.

As we wheel our trolley into the supermarket, a teenage girl talking on a mobile phone says, “Hey Trace, guess what’? Two sticks ’f rhubarb just went by.” What she means by rhubarb, we’ve no idea, but at least someone has noticed us.

A toddler, having a tantrum by the sweet counter, breaks free of its mother’s hand and rushes towards us, shrieking, “Yum, yum, yum, big sweeties, tasty,” and bites Mrs Pink on the thigh. Fortunately for her, the gummy creature’s few milk teeth aren’t strong enough to break her skin. “Come here, Daniel,” says Mum. “Leave the rhubarb alone.”

A tall young man approaches us, wearing a frown and a smile. He has a badge pinned to his jacket with ‘David, Store Manager’ written on it. He says, “So sorry, we weren’t expecting you today. Most remiss of part of Head Office not letting us know. Exactly which rhubarb product are you promoting?”

Feeling confused and a little curious, I tell him we’d very much like to see where he keeps the rhubarb.

“Of course,’ he says. “Which would you like to look at first? Fresh, chilled, or frozen?”

“Fresh will be fine.”

On our way to the rhubarb, a customer glares at us and then complains to a woman next to him, “Damn commercial gimmicks. Whatever will they think up next?”

David stops and points at something macabre dumped in a green crate. “Here it is. Our very own locally grown rhubarb.”

Mrs Pink takes one look at the pile of prostrated sticks piled high with their tops removed, and emits a wail of despair. “But you’ve chopped off their heads and killed them.”

The Manager laughs, obviously thinking Mrs Pink is acting. “Uh, well, a decent boil in the pot with sugar and a little water should revive them.”

Mrs Pink and I lean against each other for support, regretting leaving our spaceship in the woods instead of the supermarket car park for a quick getaway. We urgently need to warn our kind about how Earth people treat our young, to save Vege sapiens from extinction.

Rhubarb (Photo credit: FotoosVanRobin)