My goodness, I had no idea it was so long since I last wrote an allotment post (October last year, I see).
In part that reflects that not much was happening there, but in fact there was a lot of thinking and planning happening. All in my head – much to some people’s frustration (hello Malcolm!) I’m not a great ‘put it down on paper’ planner when it comes to gardening, but planning does happen. It evolves, develops, and consolidates in my mind’s eye.
As a result of the learning from last year and thinking during the autumn, winter and spring so far, change has happened, and there is more to come.
The biggest change of all is that I did indeed give up my fruit plot, and much effort was expended (by me) moving all my fruit bushes that I had carefully taken up there back to my main allotment – but to different places. And I had to remove all the posts and fencing left from when the hens lived up there.
Instead of 12 beds for rotating vegetable crops, I now have 4 mainly soft fruit beds, and just 8 rotation vegetable beds. But my plan is to use all the space I have much more intensively than I have ever managed before, and so to produce just as much as before, or perhaps even more.
Youngest son and Malcolm spent a long morning creating my badger defences – a fence all along one side of the plot made from pallets gleaned from skips and posts reclaimed from my former hens’ enclosure. I’m very, very pleased with it. I’m equally pleased with the ‘gate’ Malcolm fashioned for me from an old bedhead, part of a bed base, a couple of sturdy wooden posts and some cable ties.
Now I can easily partition off part of my plot and let the hens free range outside their enclosure without them spoiling any crops.
Sometimes change happens through pure chance. When an allotment neighbour took down his (tired looking) shed recently to make way for a brand new beauty and he offered the old one to me, I jumped at the chance – a 3’x6′ shed to replace my tiny 3’x2′ one.
Then youngest son and Malcolm suggested I’d be better with a new shed myself. At first resistant, I soon became excited at the prospect, and began planning not just a new shed but a lovely sunny veranda outside it to sit on and just be sometimes. With a bed on two sides so I can grow things up it.
So now the inherited shed has been freegled (our local version of freecycle) to someone who will cut off all the rotten bits at the bottom and use what remains to make a very sturdy hen house. The small toolshed/sentry box shed has been freegled to someone needing somewhere to keep her tools. Someone from a local primary school will come later today to take the tractor tyre we inherited and used first as a sand pit, then as a surround-seat for a plum tree, and more recently as a climbing frame for the hens – the school will use it as a sand pit.
Soon, in a few weeks time, I will have the shed of my dreams, and in front of it will be a terrace made out of a pallet Malcolm spotted yesterday in a skip covered with some leftover decking from youngest son’s garden.
In addition I had a farm trailer load of muck delivered, and I have forked and barrowed most of it into my 2 pallet bins, onto the potato beds, and around some of the fruit. Who needs a gym when there’s an allotment to work ? (Don’t be fooled into thinking that ‘no dig’ cultivation means ‘no hard physical labour’ – it certainly does not).
In the meantime, growing now on the allotment (but mostly not yet ready to eat) are: potatoes, onions, shallots, garlic, various brassicas (just about hanging on in there, against all the odds), broad beans, beetroot, spring onions, swiss chard (from last year, still producing well), more swiss chard (baby plants just planted out), globe artichokes, chives, asparagus, rhubarb, redcurrants, blackcurrants, strawberries, gooseberries, horseradish, lovage.
So far there are only
two three spears of asparagus – we’ll wait to see how many of the crowns I planted last year have survived the badgers’ attentions.
For beauty, there are roses, marigolds, primroses, daffodils (mostly finished now), crocuses (no flowers left there either), and Sweet William. I hope to have poppies, zinnias, dahlias, and some other flowers this year.
The plan includes planting some apple trees but I think I’ll leave that till the autumn.
There are lots more baby plants to go out in due course, and lots more seeds to sow. This must be one of the busiest times of year for any gardener, and what lovelier way could there be to spend time outside in weather such as this?
(Once it’s all finished and tidied I’ll give you a proper guided tour. At the moment it all looks a bit ‘work in progress’. Because that’s what it is.)
(and à propos of nothing at all, by chance I’ve just discovered where to find letters not part of the English alphabet – as in Fanø and Hélène; and how to change font colour – what fun!) ♥ ♥ ♥