Imagine the scene at the airport. You are queuing up at the customs barrier and the guy in front of you has a tray of 24 turnip seedlings in his luggage. You’re trying to imagine why anyone would wish to take 24 turnip seedlings with them on holiday aren’t you? Oddly it hadn’t crossed my mind either, until a couple of weeks ago - when I took 24 turnip seedlings with me on holiday.
My problem was one of planning. In an attempt to avoid the fruit and veg aisle at Tesco we have a plan to be self-sufficient. The plan allows us to take a holiday in the first week of June – not the last week in May, or the second week of June – the first week. The weather however had not been kind with a late cold spell, and whilst we had managed to plant out almost everything – a tray of 24 turnip seedlings eluded us – they simply were not ready.
We couldn’t postpone the holiday – a serious consideration believe me, but we needed to be back to start picking in the second week of June. But if we simply gave up on the turnips what would we be eating in a few months’ time? So we took turnips on holiday.
I think they enjoyed the experience and certainly by the second week of June they were very happy to be planted out, and we started to harvest cauliflowers that had been sown 15 months earlier. The plan was back on track.
The thing about growing food is that you do need a plan – there is a lovely cycle to the way of the allotment. As with all plans however, something will happen that throws or delays. So success is not just the plan itself, but being able to bend, adapt and perhaps take a slightly unusual view of the possible, without losing sight of what we want to do.