There weren’t any official plans to visit the plot today because the weather wasn’t meant to be great but it soon became clear that in fact the weather was going to be just lovely and what better place to spend an Easter Monday than digging around in the dirt. Especially as it gave us all the opportunity to put one of our long terms schemes into action.
We have had a bath on the allotment to use as a planter for a couple of years now but somehow this didn’t feel quite enough…
and so now we have an entire bathroom!! The sink is from Manda’s garden and as a plumber Neil gets load of second hand bath room bits. We have three or four toilet cisterns as planters on our patio area at home and they are great for growing herbs in. The plan is to see if we can grow tomatoes in our allotment bathroom simply because it seems like a good idea.
Apart from installing the new bathroom there was just lots more hard work clearing the new strawberry and french bean beds. I carried on with the flower bed weeding ( will it never end?) and Dave, amongst other jobs, got the last of the winter veg under cover.
But as everyone knows all work and no play is no fun for anyone and so at the end of all our hard work there was also the opportunity to sit and survey our domain and make new plans…cheers!!
As you’ll know from my earlier posts we are blessed with a wide variety of wildlife on the plot and coming into close contact with it is one of the real highlights for all of us of having an allotment. Though we have all been at the allotment this week I must admit most of our wildlife spotting was pretty tame!
There was plenty of evidence that the ladybirds that have been hibernating in the shed all winter are now out and about ( and judging by the quite scandalous behaviour going on in the garlic patch we should be getting baby ladybirds too!).
Manda also found a baby slow worm while digging the new winter veg patch out which caused great excitement with Daniel. It was such a pretty colour but unfortunately I wasn’t able to get a picture of it. The other find that caused great excitement was when Manda dug this jaw bone up. Dan thought it was just fantastic but then he is quite the fan of gruesome discoveries!!
Our best guess is rabbit but would love to know if anyone thinks otherwise.
We have all had a really good week at the plot. Not just a day but several days of making real progress. We have even had fellow allotmenteers comment on how well it all seems to be coming along which is pretty much unheard of for us! Hurrah for the Easter holidays and being able to spend quality time at the plot!!
It started on Sunday and the allotment was looking very lush!
But not for long! Dave was able to borrow a strimmer from a friend and that long grass was soon a thing of the past! Neil is also a very happy chap because he has treated himself to a petrol mower so after Dave had strimmed the worst of it back he was able to go round and make the allotment look really neat and tidy. Well, neat and tidy for us!
We are also making great progress on the long neglected second half of the plot. We have turned the bottom section into an orchard which is looking good ( though we think we may have lost the plum tree) and Manda has worked really, really hard this week to create a winter veg plot. This is before, looking down towards the orchard, also before Dave and Neil’s strimming and mowing efforts.
Actually she has done more since these pictures were taken and our baby brussel sprouts, swedes and cabbages are all safely netted and under cover!
And this isn’t to mention the peas, carrots and horse radish that have also been planted out.
And this is where I come to the solemn promise of the title…
Our triangular raised beds were one of the first things that we made and installed on the allotment. Over the years they have pretty much become established as flower beds and every year I find myself having to spend hours weeding them out whilst trying to preserve the plants and bulbs that I have got growing in there. This is the job in progress:
Frankly, I am bored to tears with having to do this AGAIN this year but I have nobody to blame but myself for not keeping on top of the weeding. And so, and so, I have solemnly promised to myself that if I achieve nothing else on the allotment this year I will keep on top of the weeds in the raised beds so that next year I can do something different!!
Anyone care to share what solemn promises / resolutions they have made for their plots this year?
There has, over the years, been a degree of coming and going with who is part of our allotment community. We have always worked on the principle that it doesn’t matter how much or how little time you can give to the allotment because we alll lead such very busy lives. However, sometimes life just gets too busy for any allotmenteering and so it is that J&J are no longer helping us to dig and weed. This isn’t to say though that we will never see them at the plot but when we do it will be purely social rather than expecting them to wrestle with the bristly ox-tongue and nettles.
Just like the seasons this feels just like another part of the ebb and flow of our allotment (mis) adventures.
But let’s not dwell on how long it has been since I last posted and let’s just crack on!
It was such a beautiful Sunday and with no other commitments ( that isn’t in fact strictly true but digging was so much more fun than marking essays!) that I decided to head to the plot. Dave and Manda were there too but Neil stayed home because our own lawn needed some attention.
In fact Dave and Manda had been shopping and came armed with red onions and horse radish to plant. So while they cracked on with planting them I weeded the cut flower bed.
True to form we hadn’t worked out prior to buying the onions where they were going to go but this empty bed seemed to fit the bill so they have gone in there. The horse radish has gone in one of the bins that you can see on the right hand side of the picture.
And this constituted my afternoon’s work. Not earth shatteringly exciting but I am really looking forward to this bed being in full bloom. Weeding the bed underneath this one will probably be my next job.
Perhaps the most exciting news I have is that our rhubarb has survived. Do you remember this post? https://levellingtheplot.com/2013/08/17/rhubarb-we-are-doing-it-wrong/
After some very wobbly moments when it looked like we had definitely killed it our rhubarb has proven itself to be a pretty tough customer! Go rhubarb!!
Oh and we had our first wildlife sighting of the year; Manda was preparing the soil in what will be our winter veg bed and unearthed a tiny, tiny slow worm. Unfortunately I didn’t think to take a picture, I can only promise to try harder next time.
One of the real advantages of allotmenteering (I’m pretty sure that isn’t a word but hey we’ll run with it!) as a collective is that everyone gets to play to their strengths.
Neil would like me to list his skills as growing runner beans and making plant food aka Stinko Juice. Dave is great at constructing things and is fast learning to tell the difference between weeds and plants we want to keep! And Manda loves to grow fruit and then turn it into something really yummy to eat!
Earlier this year she surprised me by turning up on my doorstep on a Sunday evening armed with a tin of custard and freshly made rhubarb crumble. Tonight though she brought round jam tarts that she and her daughter had made. The jam was made with raspberries and blackberries picked and foraged for from the allotment yesterday afternoon
There aren’t that many left now and yes, they were delicious!
So lazy in fact that I am posting this on a Monday morning!
I am only very new to this blogging lark and was worried that I didn’t have something specific to write about this weekend. But then we had such a lovely gentle afternoon at the plot yesterday and I realised that really it is these afternoons that capture the real spirit / nature of allotment gardening.
Neil mowed the grass and planted onions for next spring and Manda harvested raspberries ( fruit tarts have been promised!!) and weeded the pumpkin patch. Meanwhile I prepped one of the seed beds ready for an autumn sowing of my hardy annuals from http://higgledygarden.com/ (I am actually really excited about having cut flower beds). There were moments of lovely companionable silence as everyone just got on with the job in hand but then there was also a good gossip over a cup of coffee and all of this was accomplished in some wonderful late summer sunshine.
So nothing earth shatteringly exciting or of any great import happened just three friends working hard on their plot. Bliss.
Ooops, I said three, should really have been four! This is Ruby, one of Manda’s dogs, she is a Sprollie and just adores the allotment. Nothing, and I mean nothing, is more exciting than barking at Neil when he isn’t throwing things for her to chase!