Sunday, 9 May 2010

Punishment to fit the crime.

Have allotments always been targeted by vandals, or is this a relatively recent development? And how have we got to the sad state of affairs where it is just a matter of time before it happens? We were advised last Autumn when we first took the plot that it was best not to lock the sheds otherwise they'd be damaged by forced entry (did we listen? - no).

Arrived at the plot yesterday to find lots of sheds - including ours - had been broken in to. Not too bad for us, just the padlock ripped off so some damage to the doorframe & just one smashed pane of glass, nothing taken. But I do feel really sorry for one or two people who had more solid metal sheds - their doors have been thoroughly kicked in and are damaged beyond repair. And not nice to have your shed spray-painted & tagged - no matter what repairs you do to the damage, you're left with a more permanent reminder that's tougher to get rid of.

If I could only get my hands on the vandals, I'd get all medieval on their asses, and invent a punishment to fit the crime. Bury them up to their knees and stake them to the ground using a variety of garden tools, spread them with treacle, scatter them in birdseed, and shout out "RELEASE THE CROWS!"

And, of course, invite my fellow allotmenteers to pelt them with rotten vegetables and douse them in stinky fermented nettle tea.

Or maybe I'd force them to eat my radishes.

Ahhh, yes, about my radishes..... I grew some beauties as you can see (they were ultra-organic, something feasted on the leaves before I could pull them, as you'll see from the holey leaves).

Not sure why I grew them - can't stand them. Never buy them. Don't eat them. But I knew that they're quick easy growers, and I hoped that maybe they'd taste amazingly different.

But no, still distinctly and identifiably radishy. Bleugh.

And there was me, laughing at the couple on the plot opposite who had an emormous bed of spinach on the go last autumn, who when I commented that given the amount growing they must love the stuff, they replied "No, can't stand spinach, but there's not much else will grow this time of year and we like to have something on the go".

I'm not laughing now.

But we did pull our first few leeks today. They've been in since last October, courtesy of our kind allotment neighbour who gave us some of his extras to plant. I've no idea what variety they are, but they were the first thing we planted so we're enormously proud & protective of them. And we've been drooling and salivating at the prospect of eating them for 7 months now.

I think we have to get on with harvesting & eating them now, beacause as soon as it warms up a little they will flower and become inedible. Though leek flowers are stunning - will look like an Agapanthus - so I will leave some to go over.

The ones we had for tea were really tasty - I knew they would be, as the minute we pulled them the oniony leeky perfume that filled the air was very intense.

They tasted like nothing I've ever been able to buy from a supermarket. And I like the imperfect shape of one of them - it just reminded me how all the supermarket food we buy now is all about appearance and not at all about taste.

But the food I am growing is all about the taste. Not that I will be above posting photographs of any rude or lewd vegetable shapes that I might accidently grow.

And please don't say anything about the oniony leeky perfume attracting every onion fly for miles around. I'm hoping that if plants are several weeks behind thanks to the cold winter, then so are the pests...


  1. Oh, it is a fine looking leek. For sure let some flower and go to seed. I have kept my leek bed going perennially for 3 years now using this method. What's better than a vegetable that grows and takes care of itself?

  2. I'm sorry to hear about the shed break ins, but it sounds like you've got the punishment sorted out, I like it. I'm growing lots more leeks this year than I did last year as they didn't last through the winter and I love them.

  3. Found my way here via Artist's Garden. Sorry to hear what's happened to your shed. Have been the victim of a similar crime at my lottie plot. The stocks and dousing their heads in essence of comfrey juice would be appropriate methinks. Looking forward to reading more about your plot.

  4. oh those vandals dident mean any harm, they were just having a bit of fun really, they were expressing their inner city twentieth century angst, what they need is a hug and a bowl of leek soup...just dont tell them where i live...

  5. Urgh those b"stds....that sucks big time. Maybe you can place a "faux" camera somewhere. :-) your leek looks divine. one of our favorite meals is to pan fry a pork loin or chops (place the meat to one side when browned), add leeks and butter to the pan and fry gently...add some salt and pepper. put your meat back in the pan on top of leeks...add a generous helping of white wine and cook in oven on 350 until meat is done.

  6. As part of the punishment, don't forget to add a hefty sprinkling of well-rotted steaming manure. Have you considered mail-order radishes if you don't like them? I'd have them - love 'em! x

  7. The leeky onion fly is prevalent in the Sussex area this year! As for the vandals, if it's only occasional there's not a lot you can do, but if it becomes systematic record the incidences and if you can identify a pattern, there's nothing to reform a young lad more than being encircled by a mob of hooded gentleman...

  8. I really enjoy your drawings. You are very talented. It makes me remember that I used to draw and paint a lot many moons ago. I should try again...maybe...