Whilst I have a good few years of gardening experience, this allotmenteering lark is a whole new ball game to us both, so we’ve unsurprisingly spent our first visits quietly acclimatising ourselves to our plot which is sandwiched between some very productive ones – there’s clearly some very green fingers sowing seeds nearby! Nevertheless, we’ve already gleaned some tips to set us on the right track, and whose collective advice has been to take our time and not overdo it!
Our allotment is a half plot within the wider 7 acre Wellesbourne Allotments site, which supports 127 plot holders in all – a significant local green space and resource therefore. There’s a good deal of history to the site which I’ll touch on in future posts, but if you find the name of these allotments rings a bell, it might be because it has in recent years been under threat of closure for redevelopment. Again, it’s something I’ll touch on in due course, for now though, plot 38A is our focus and the heaps of opportunity it offers – which includes our intention to grow organically, naturally.
Initially we were overjoyed to discover that the plot had a decent shed, which has already proved its worth during a heavy downpour on one of our early visits – when we spent some time hatching plans to harvest future rainfall at the earliest opportunity! Although we are blessed I have to say, by having a small mains tank nearby – for use with cans only, not hose pipes of course.
The plot has been separated into segments presumably to support crop rotation, and luckily there are remnants of a spring planting spree which included a few potatoes and a row each of carrots and parsnips, which although drowning in a sea of annual weeds, (now weed free) look to be in pretty good shape. Indeed, we’ve already harvested the potatoes which were delicious!
The plot looked to be in pretty good shape considering a time without tending, but as we really tuned in to the tasks there is plenty to be getting on with – not least the mat of grass that infests the plot – it could be much worse of course.
Still, after what felt like a delayed and restrained beginning, we’ve now relocated weed matting, started edging and weeding, and have also started to turn the packed compost stack. I even found an excuse to get my scythe out to tackle some long grass areas! It feels rewarding already and we’ve lots yet to do!
Nevertheless, me being me, I’m conscious of the season moving on and I’m keen to push forward with the hope of getting something into the ground soon – even if it’s some green manure seeds that can work some magic over the coming months – I’ll keep you posted!
I’ll finish up for now with a brief mention of our most recent visit – last Saturday. Whilst cotton wool clouds floated by and our boys talked football cards with the lad from the next plot, Ruth and I dug deep’ish to clear some ground of weeds and to establish a boundary edge to the plot. We enjoyed a fabulous if tough session working the soil, and definitely experienced a close encounter of the hard work kind, but the whole experience offered a real breath of fresh air.
Most interestingly, throughout the weeding there were a good few solitary or ground nesting bees that had presumably been upset due to the digging – buzzing around just above the soil as if inspecting our work. The same was evident on the plot next door too, so I’m now torn as to how much of the plot we should use for growing, as I feel it’s important to provide some ground for these essential creatures to call home. Maybe I’m being too soft as the allotments are surrounded by acres of countryside, but I’m sure we’ll be able to find a balance one way or the other, and provide some undisturbed ground for them to call home too. More research needed I think…
By the end of Saturday’s session, with sore backs and dirt beneath our nails (and for one of us – smeared across the face also,) we were ready to head for our dangling carrot so to speak – a sweet treat and a ‘reviver’ smoothie from the local Garden Shed Café. I think it’s fair to say say that where the allotment is concerned; we have now well and truly broken ground!
If you’d like to follow our journey you’d be welcome to follow this blog, and if you’re on Instagram you can follow our progress more regularly via @allotofpotential – where we’ll be posting frequently about the ups and downs of our allotment journey.
Thanks for stopping by, Gary (& Ruthie by default!)