What a month! After starting work on family bed number 4, it quickly became obvious that my plans for the layout had to change due to an unbelievable amount of crap underground. Not happy! On top of that, 2 weeks were lost on site thanks to the kids being poorly. Then there was the weather…….it has been absolutely horrendous here, and still is. The final straw came when I had a fall down the stairs at home leaving me with very little use in my right hand and foot. Xrays showed no breaks, just lots of swelling. Eight years ago if I fell down the stairs I could laugh it off and carry on, not now!
I have sorely missed the escape the plot usually provides, and with snow still coming down now in March, getting back into it seems a long way off.
My Leeks ‘Musselburgh’ are doing well, as are the potatoes first early ‘Winston’, second early ‘Charlotte’, and main crop ‘Maris Piper’. The onions I had planted on site at the end of last year were ruined by neighbouring chickens so my second attempt is being started at home in cell trays, so far they’re looking great. Unfortunately, the Sprouts and Cabbages which I sowed (hoping for a miracle turn around in the weather) have not survived and have been added to the compost.
Before my little accident I did manage to get the path started, it will run straight down the middle of the plot. A little old fashioned perhaps, but I like it and it works for me. I have also found someone who will supply me with all the chippings I need for the path for free as long as I collect it myself, which is fantastic. Some bargain fleece cloches in place to start warming the soil up make it look and feel like a real allotment, rather than a muddy building site.
I sound like such an old winge bag when I read this back, but this has been my February!
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