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, 12 March 2012

They're ba-ack (again)

Okay, so last year I posted one update then went dark, my bad. In my defence, it was a busy year. Major work upheavals for both me and my other half, ever-growing children, fairly major building work on the house (enough with the excuses already).
Life, as John Lennon didn't say, is what happens while you're making allotment plans.
Not that none of our time was allotment-related. We did manage to get up there a fair amount and had a good crop of apples, soft fruit, plums, potatoes, onions, leeks, swede and more courgettes than it is humanly possible to imagine without a picture (I don't have a picture).
Also, at around this time last year I joined the allotment society committee.
It wasn't by design, I just happened to go to the open meeting, asked if they had a website, mentioned I knew how to make one and suddenly found myself bashed over the head and woke up out at sea on HMS Pressganged (metaphorically).
And also not that the meetings, or managing the site, take up a huge amount of time. In fact they're both enjoyable - and informative.
The society has this year hacked through the waiting lists under the guidance of a new secretary, has investigated re-establishing a town vegetable show and has brought every site under its control into productive use.
Not bad going.
So, how does our patch of red mud look?
We went back up this weekend for our first full weekend of the season, having put the plot to bed in December - digging over and covering over every patch we could.
Saturday and Sunday saw us pulling back the covers, digging as much as we could, moving two huge and full compost heaps to the bottom of the site and planting new crops.
The compost bins had become eyesores by virtue of the fact they were mostly full of weeds that insisted on growing out of the sides - they had to go.
But they made was for new rows of raspberries, and some of the mud was used to shore up the water tank at the top of the plot.
We also managed to plant another blackberry to replace some of the old ones that needed to go, and we moved the rhubarb from the bottom of the plot (swamped in grass) to the top (where everyone else seems to grow there's).
We sited and bedded in two new water containers - with drought orders set to come in tomorrow in some parts of the UK storing up water now is vital.
And we prepared the ground for our crops.
Potatoes and onions have both done well for us over the past two to three years, so there will be plenty more of those.
We have a pumpkin in already, and plan to put in more squashes.
Mangetout have been brought on from seed and will go in the ground tonight.
We also have loads of brassica seeds growing happily in the greenhouses - so they will go into the prepared beds once we have some way of protecting them from the worst of the wildlife.
Leeks, carrots, parsnips and swede will follow.
This year, our third full year on the plot coming up to year four, we aim to use the whole patch.
We've got a good idea of what works, what works where and what we can use (the jars of courgette chutney filling our fridge are a warning, not a relish)
So, here's to a productive 2012 - bring it on.

No comments: