Last month I ran out of muck for my allotment.
I still have several beds to mulch, and I have built two new bins from found wooden pallets and cable ties. I am inordinately proud of my achievement. They are neat and square and make up part of the edge of the extra bit of land the Council agreed I could add to my allotment.
- had a delivery of muck from the farmer. He drove his tractor over from the other side of town pulling a trailer load of partly rotted cow muck and then I
- made a start on moving it across my allotment to make a new permanent bed, spread it on the remaining bare beds, then fork the rest into the bins.
A couple of years ago I treated myself to a day course with the inspiring Charles Dowding. I had a wonderful day learning at his no-dig market garden. He transformed how I see and run my allotment.
No dig, and lots of attention to nurturing the soil and keeping it weed free. Since then it has become more and more productive, and I have found it less and less of a struggle to keep up with it.
Of course it helps to have reached this stage of my life when my children are grown men living independently and I am no longer needing to do as much paid work as before. But I really wish I had discovered Charles’ approach years ago, I’m certain it would have helped.
I wasn’t a beginner. Malcolm and I have always had an allotment since about 1984. In those days they were easy to get, hardly anyone wanted them, the old men (and they were all men) were getting too ill or frail to cope, and plots were lying uncared for and untended.
This year I’m aiming to produce enough to provide the boys and their partners with vegetable and fruits as well as ourselves. We’ll see!
Meanwhile the hard work continues of shifting that great pile of muck. I need to move fast – at the moment it is in everyone else’s way, as the ground was too wet for Mike the Muck to manoeuvre the tractor and trailer to where I really wanted it. Beats paying for gym membership though!