And so two months have zapped by in an interminable haze of work, college, snow flurries and dark dark evenings. The plot has kept itself ticking over, with a little input from me, and is just about ready to embark on a new season. My rent is paid for another year; the daffodils hover on the verge of yellow eruption; the fish are bigger than ever; giant bumblebees weave from wallflower to heather sprig to crocus, and the garlic is galloping up by the week.
Every time I visit, something has moved on - back in late January it was the first snowdrop emerging from the thicket, last weekend it was tulips my parents brought home from Amsterdam last autumn finally showing their faces above ground.
Sunday was a blustery day laden with whinneys and thundering hooves courtesy of the hunter trials taking place in the field next door. I have most of the beds cleared by now and the polytunnel is semi-respectable. I'm thinking of sowing some green manure in a couple of the beds, as they won't be needed for pumpkins and courgettes until June. A lot of weeds could take advantage of the space in the meantime, so I think it's best to fill it up. I potted on some windowsill-started tomatoes into the polytunnel - and I've been worrying about them ever since as the temperatures drop back at night. Hopefully they'll muddle through.
In the midst of all this new growth - some death to balance it out.
I moved the wheelbarrow on Sunday to discover the remains of something's dinner - judging by the calling card next to the remains, the culprit was a fox. The victim looks to have been a hare rather than a rabbit (a flatter tail) and I have seen a couple of scrapes around the plot in the last couple of months. The allotment manager later told me that he has seen a fox around the place too.
Food-wise the plot isn't producing much - just a few leeks, the end of last year's turnips, some kale and spring cabbage. I've also been eating my way through the pumpkins in store; they provide a welcome dash of sunshine in mid-winter.
Next week is St Patrick's Day - time to truly announce the start of the new season with the ceremonial planting of my early spuds.