January 23rd 2013
It seems like a lifetime ago that I managed to get on my allotment to do any work. Though the snow seems to have stopped falling at last (crosses fingers), it’s still too cold to have a proper thaw. The path down to the allotment could rival any of our countries ice rinks I’m sure! I’ve had my fun with the kids, sledges and ‘snow chickens’ (more on that later), now I’m starting to get irritated and anxious. The thought of waking up in the morning to another day of bloody housework is so unbelievably depressing. I need to get out of here!
Back to that ‘snow chicken’ I mentioned. My 6yr old daughter built herself a snow chicken in the front garden. I may be biassed but I thought it was brilliant. It was so cute to see it sitting there when I opened the curtains in the morning, and she lit up knowing she’d created something everyone was talking about. Well somebody stole it, no joke! Lifted it clean up, leaving nothing but a bare patch of sodden grass. All we could think to do was to make an egg shaped snowball, and tell her that it had went away and left her an egg to look after. With a thaw on the way, I may have to dust off the purse for a toy chick in the near future.
I have set the potatoes off to chit, and I’ve sown my first ever leek seeds (I hope not too early). I’ve sat with the seed catalogues and played with the bed designs, but it’s just not enough. I need to be at the plot, I need to come back soaking with sweat and covered in shi….mud. This is when I’m at my happiest! I’m slowly loosing my mind, trapped like a caged animal desperately yearning to be free.
Deep in boredom and my thoroughly depressed state I watched a BBC 2 show the other night called Allotment Wars, I don’t know whether you saw it? It had the oddest people on it, the programme makers seemed to be implying they were representative of the type of plot holders we have in this country. Well all I can say is, every one of the plot holders I have come into contact with have been absolutely marvellous and have gone out of their way to make me feel most welcome. I do hope there is another show planned for the future that balances the scales some what. If I’d not had a plot of my own and not seen first hand what an allotment community was all about, this programme would have scared me off!
Thanks for taking your time to read this post
Thanks to our lovely English weather work on the allotment has got off to a very slow start, only managing to be on site 4 days in 2 months! I have managed to build my first compost bin from palettes salvaged from a neighbouring allotment, nothing fancy as you can see but it’ll do the job.
I have started hand weeding and digging over the plot from the top end of the site working my way across and down as I go. Using any sort of machinery to do this would only cut the weed roots into thousands of tiny pieces and make the problem worse, it’s back breaking but it will be worth it.
Getting little areas into working order allows me to start using the land as I move on to clearing other areas. When it all gets a little daunting and seems an impossible task, it’s from these little areas I hope to find the inspiration to carry on going. I have been given some onions and garlic from a neighbour that will go in this area.
These are not my chickens, but this is my plot!
The onions and garlic I planted in the prepared bed seem to have been pulled up, chewed on and spat out. I don’t have solid proof who the culprits are, but I strongly suspect the feathery things clucking away on my plot are to blame. Never mind it’s a lesson learned, protect your crops!
The soil gets heavier and a lot harder to work over the other side of the plot, I’m turning it over and leaving it rough in the hope that our winter can break it up a little. The heavy and prolonged rain forecast could well just turn this into a boggy mess though. I’ve been given some old, low fencing which I plan on using to break up the growing areas. Again splitting the plot up into smaller growing areas seems to be easier to get to grips with.
I don’t think it has ever rained this much, making the clay soil so unbelievably sticky and heavy. I literally got stuck in the mud, nearly breaking my ankle getting free.
Cold wet weather has put a full stop on work now, it’s doing more harm than good walking about on site. Putting a path down the middle is the next job to do, if it ever stops raining that is.
So this is it, my new allotment on a hill in the North East of England. It has been left to run wild for quite a while, and as you can see from the pictures is going to take a lot of work and time to get it in full working order. It looks like I have every weed there is growing here, except for bind-weed thankfully!
The allotment is a full size plot which used to house guinea pigs, apparently a big fire destroyed the buildings which housed them years ago and has not been worked fully since.
Cutting myself a path to the upper end of the allotment, I find myself looking down at the scale of it all and questioning whether I can really do this, where do I start?
A huge bonus I didn’t expect was finding that I have my own water supply half way up the plot. Under the growth I’ve also found a hose, fork, spade, wheelbarrow, and a garden chair.
At the lower end of the plot there is dappled shade from the nearby trees. It is from this end I got my first vision of what it could be, will be!
Some exploration of the soil tells me I have clay soil, heavy to work and slow to warm up. That’ll be fun!
Thanks for taking your time to read this, and I hope you’ll join me in future posts as I battle my way to a better and healthier way of living