Allotment Adventures: Expansion

I think I’ve talked a little bit about my allotment neighbour, Joe and how this year has not been a good one for him. We saw him this weekend and he told us that he’s going to give up the plot this year. Our allotment year runs from 1st October and the chair of the committee has confirmed that I’m top of the waiting list for a whole plot. So we expanding and all of plot 186 becomes ours to tend.We were sort of expecting that this would happen but we’ll be really sorry to see Joe leave, he’s had the plot probably longer than I’ve been alive and he’s been a great source of encouragement and knowledge in the last couple of years and in fact said that he’s sad to be leaving but happy that he can hand it over to us ‘girls’. Fortunately, his daughter has the plot directly opposite, so I’m sure that we’ll get some visits.

Joe’s plot is a bit daunting to take over. He digs over his plot every year and that means weeds, lots and lots of them. There is also a gooseberry bush, a row of loganberries and I think a small apple tree. The plot backs onto the hedge and is more in shadow than my section of the plot, thanks to a building across the road that features in a lot of my photos of the plot!Ma was hoping that we could keep and make use of the shed to store the things she doesn’t like in our shed (mostly chickenwire and cloches) but the back of Joe’s plot is a lot messier than Ma or I would put up with and a lot of the ‘equipment’ and the shed itself is too far into the hedgerow. The rule is a metre between the fence and the plot and that’s not the case right now. So the first thing that will need to happen is that someone will have to come and check the very old shed for asbestos. If it does have asbestos then Pathways organise for it to taken away and disposed of and have a fund for doing so (which tells you a lot about allotments in the 60’s and 70’s!). If it just needs to be cleared away, then we can do that and it’ll go on the bonfire in November!My current plan is to do nothing until October because Joe is still there, the cabbages and courgette corridor are on Joe’s plot and we’ll continue to tend them and weed that area for him. In October, we’ll clear the back and move our compost bins to that area. We really need to work on making compost so I want to create buy some proper large bins so I can turn it and make lots. That will allow us to turn the two square beds either side of one of them. We’ll also look at creating a proper area for sitting down outside our current shed because we still haven’t got to grips with that. In terms of use of the extra space, I do eventually want to plant asparagus and more rhubarb (because there is never enough!) and I have another boysenberry plant so that has to go somewhere part of me is thinking about patio fruit trees, maybe a cherry and/or an apricot (for those of you I currently in various stages of maturity have 6 blueberry bushes, 2 blackcurrant bushes, 3 gooseberry bushes, two boysenberry bushes, loganberries, rhubarb, plums, summer and autumn raspberries – I like fruit!). We’ll have more space to grow things that sit in the ground longer too, brussel sprouts and parsnips are on my list and more of the things that we never get bored of carrots, beetroot and winter squash. I also want to grow some more flowers, a colleague at work has given me some sisyrinchium striatum so I’ll find some space for them and I’ll need to move some of the verbena bonariesis as its swamping a tiny lavender I planted in the same place.As we can’t do any of that for another couple of months, let’s talk about what is going on right now on the plot I do have.We harvested carrots, french beans, raspberries, beetroot, salad and courgettes. There are 4 tiny beetroot in the ground that I’ll leave until they are a bit bigger. The salad is done and was replaced at the weekend with cauliflowers. There are more carrots, french beans, raspberries, courgettes and summer squash to come and we are still waiting on the tomatoes, sweetcorn, borlotti beans, kale, leeks and chard. There cabbages and cauliflowers are for spring. We also sowed some turnips to see how they’ll do. Once we have some free beds, we’ll sow some winter lettuce and in autumn the sweetpeas and broad beans for next year.Right now life on the plot is harvesting, weeding and some watering, then processing everything we pick.

About nicdempsey

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