Dig for victory
1st November, 2005
Having an allotment is no longer a tiresome hobby practised by old geezers in wellies and donkey jackets. It’s an insurance policy against an uncertain future, as Paul Kingsnorth has found out for himself over the last three years.
My knowledge was basic in the extreme: I knew if you put seeds in soil and added water, they grew The best thing that happened to me this summer was 13 inches long and bright yellow. And boy, was it worth the wait. I’ve been trying to grow sweetcorn on my allotment for three years and it’s never worked before. I planted the seeds, I watered and tended them, I fed them and after three months of it, in high summer, the cobs were always white, rubbery and completely inedible. They 'hadn’t pollinated’, I was told, knowingly, by old men wearing gumboots and sly smiles.
But not this year. This time, for whatever reason, I got it right. I carted home my freshly-picked cobs in triumph, tossed them into a pan of water (boil for 10 minutes, no salt) and then ate them, with butter and pepper. There was no doubt in my mind that they were the best sweetcorn I had ever tasted, and probably the best sweetcorn ever grown by human hands.
Growing your own food does this to you. It instils such a sense of pride that digging up your potatoes becomes something akin to attending the birth of your first child (only less messy). And the sweetcorn was only the best bit. This year, my allotment also...
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