io have been like an unruly dog at the door, pining for the plot, and now unleashed from another isolation. Turning soil, moving seedlings, sorting a mass of packets. A welcome return to early or late Saturdays and Sundays with Howard and Rose.
The plot is pretty much ready after frantic, last-minute catching up. Topped with the last of the vintage manure, freshly hoed and watered, and sprayed with a biodynamic prep. The only intervention left now is aged comfrey, perhaps seaweed.
We have resolved this year to grow more flowers than food. A need for comforting colour. First nasturtiums then calendula. A plant mantra of memory.
Howard has tagetes germinating in his greenhouse. I have donated my last two root-trainer trays. There will be seed from Signe’s Ildkongen hoard and we’ll be growing Marigold Elevate Orange, an old-school, tall style, reminiscent of travels through India.
Jane Scotter is growing us a tray of sweet peas we might have to add to the tear pea poles due to a shortage of hazel. I will try not to sneak-sow morning glory.
There will be red and yellow sunflowers, harlequin, pure. And Painted Mountain corn. I have a new irresistible amaranth and a sack of saved orache (Atriplex hortensis), though it’s already bursting through everywhere. I love it for its spikes and deep crimson, the cascade of seed.
We will grow Gold of Bacau French beans (buttery, the best I know) and assorted edible leaves. A few styles of chard: classic white-stemmed Swiss, ruby and rainbow. There will be rocket and chervil, dill and coriander. We’ve left a scattering of herb fennel to grow for height and yellow-dusted flower.
Colour is calling at the plot as never before. A return to brightness after the dark.
Allan Jenkins’s Plot 29 (4th Estate, £9.99) is out now. Order it for £8.49 from guardianbookshop.com