No two years on the allotment are the same. Some years the potato crop is terrible, but the beans are fantastic; others years you cannot move for courgettes, but scarcely manage to grow a single carrot. And then of course there are the obsessions. Last year we went completely overboard on the squash front, growing so many that our kitchen looked like the west London entry for the National Pumpkin Festival (is there such an event? If there is, we would have won it hands down). Two years ago I developed a mild lettuce obsession, which I have more or less dealt with now, although I still have the occasional flashbacks.
This year it is tomatoes. For some reason we have gone completely mad for tomatoes, filling pot after pot with young seedlings, which is all very well except for the fact that we only have enough room on the allotment to grow about half a dozen plants. I have no idea what we are going to with rest of them.
I am not even entirely sure where all these tomatoes came from. Some were freebies, given away with things like Kitchen Garden magazine; others were presents, often in the form of seed collections given to our children and then purloined by us. (That is how low we have sunk - taking the seeds from our children to grow ourselves). Some we have actually bought ourselves.
The result is that this year's tomato collection includes the following varieties: Sungold (an old favourite, a very sweet cherry tomato), Costoluto Fiorentino (an Italian ribbed number), Zucchero (no idea: I got it in a seed swap, and presume from the name it is on the sweet side), Yellow Pear (nicked from the kids: presumably it is yellow, and pear-shaped) and Red Pear (the same, only red).
As I write this, we have gone away for a few days to my parents-in-law in Wiltshire, which involved my taking the tomatoes out of the mini-greenhouse - where I was worried they might get a bit overheated if I was not there to look after them (this, of course, is a classic symptom of the obsessive - thinking that your babies cannot possibly survive without constant attention) - and putting them on trays on the kitchen table, which is nice and light but not as hot as the mini greenhouse.
They look great, but it does mean that our kitchen table is filled with 56 pots of young tomato plants, not counting the chilli plants which I also brought in. It doesn't leave a lot of room for breakfast.
I haven't yet broken it to the rest of the family, but we may have to move out for a few weeks.