For years allotments were out of favour. No-one wanted them, and patches of mud with a shed at one end and weeds everywhere else went to waste. Then suddenly gardening became the new rock and roll, and everyone who didn't want to dig up their lawn wanted their own council-run patch of mud. The waiting lists grew faster than the cabbages. Now, after more than three years on a waiting list, Neil Shaw has been given his own patch of green and pleasant land.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Green-ness envy

Back on the plot this weekend and after one huge bonfire and three trips to the tip (two with overloaded trailer) it is finally clear.
The sheer amount of rubbish left on the plot has been weighing us down since we took over the site in December so it feels like a weight is now off our shoulders.
We had to conscript the help of family to borrow a trailer but now all the waste is gone (including a huge amount of glass, a lot of rusted metal, enough carpet for a small hotel and a chemical toilet) it feels like we can get on and plant.
And we have to do it quickly. Walking past all the other plots to ours it is amazing to see how quickly they are sprouting - while ours is a reddy brown mess.
So there is a long way to go, much too long to sit around being jealous of how green everyone else's patch is.
About a third of our plot is about ready for planting. The overgrowth and rubbish are gone. It has been dug over. Now it needs a thorough double dig and then we can get the crops in.
Everyone keeps telling us to use root crops to break up the soil and bring it back into use - so potatoes, carrots and parsnips will feature heavily alongside swede and possibily turnips and beetroot.
We've already got a lot of rapsberries and blackberries on the site and we've planted another raspberry and a gooseberry - so we'll see how they do, alongside the two or three (hard to tell under the growth) established apple trees.
The sheds are also now empty so one of them (the one without the huge whole in the wall) is about to be treated to a padlock so we can keep our tools up there instead of lugging them backwards and forwards.
After a winter of discontent, hopefully spring has now sprung and we can start making a real difference on the plot.