Sunday, 17 July 2011

The Allotment

It's officially holiday now for the next week.....YES!!! 
We had planned to spend day two on the allotment, aiming to spray of the overgrowth where the compost bins are to go, put in the uprights for the bins, and timber treat the shed. However, man makes his plans, and God smiles at him. I'm sat on the sofa, laptop on my lap, coffee in hand, looking out of the window at the wind and rain once again lashing the garden. And so, let me tell you a bit about day one at the allotment.

As you remember, at the beginning of the year we had made a start clearing it, but due to the on site skip being full, we couldn't get rid of the rubbish. This stayed in a great heap on the plot, and as work geared up, things got left completely until we recently received a letter saying that we must control our plot. And so control it we have started to do.

Too late really to grow anything this year, our aim is to bring it up to a serviceable state for growing, create three great compost bins at one end, year 1, year 2 and year 3 compost etc. Firstly though, the grass and weeds needed to be strimmed down.

Masses of general rubbish left by the last allotmenteer.....not helpful. Plastic tubs, pots, metal bars, chicken wire, bags of gravel, name it, it was here!

Gradually things started to take shape. Barrow load after barrow load went into the skip, which upon arrival was completely empty, but by the end almost full. The picture below shows the end where the compost bins are going to be, extending right across the width of the plot.

The suggestion by 'those that be' was that we should compost all of our rubbish.......look at this....I don't think so!

After we had worked our way down the plot, me hoeing of the weed covering and Amanda raking it up ready for barrowing imto the skip, The roses needed tackling. A couple were just cut down to about 18" to get them under control, whilst the two remaining that you see Amanda working on in the photo were formatively pruned and controlled.

Having both worked on the 4000 roses at Compton Acres, it was easy to see what needed doing. Amanda grabbed the secateurs, and I carried on with the clearing.

I couldn't resist taking this as she had just turned to face me with a big smile on her face!

The shed that we inherited with the plot isn't perhaps the most stylish, but it is at least waterproof. Should any day turn a bit rainy, then the gas stove to make tea, some biccies and a good book will take the place of work.

Slow worms are very coomon here, liking the dry piles of compost to lie in. Not indeed a worm, or a snake, but a lizard with no legs. This one is fairly young, and we moved him/her to another heap from the one we were clearing.

Some six hours later, and the plot was basically cleared, with only the strip where the compost bins are going left. This will be sprayed off, and the base of each bin, after they are made, will have a 12" layer of grass cuttings put in to assist in preventing any bindweed coming back through.

In both these pictures can be seen the area that used to have masses of raspberry canes growing. They had become very old and would have needed far too much work to bring them back into some sort of order, and also we are unsure of the varieties. And so to play it safe, they are going, and new selcted varieties putting back.

And so, apart from the raspberry canes that are still visible in this earlier photo, this is the cleared plot, with our cherry tree stuck in the middle. We are both vegetarians on ethical grounds, and so a very varied selection of fruit and vegetables is essential for both health and sanity reasons. Where possible, only old varieties will be used as modern cross breeding and genetic modification has made fruit and vegetables either tasteless, dangerous.....or both. Our aim is to grow quite a vast selection for our own consumption, and thus doing away with the need to buy fresh produce from outlets, as even organically grown fruit and vegetables are open to abuse of the various loopholes, no matter how well the grower promotes themselves. At the end of the day, profit has to come first for most businesses.

Can I just end this post with a clip of a very dear friend of ours.
He is playing the leading man in this music video, is breaking out into stage work in London, can sing like you've never heard before, and is an all round brilliant guy. And so, ladies and gentlemen, can I introduce the great.......Neil Maxfield.

Thank you for dropping by!


  1. Awesome job at the allotment! Love the shed. It has character. Glad it is in such good shape.
    My hubby wanted to know if the "slow worm" as you call it has a bone structure where legs could be just no actual legs. To me a lizard with no legs is a snake! He says they're different internally. Sorry for the herpetology quiz!
    Great photo of Amanda with the rose!
    Here's to growing great things in the new space.

  2. Hi Sherlock,
    Apparently, the things that makes them a lizard instead of a snake are amongst other things eyelids, a short tongue, a tail end that can be shed, they can't coil tightly. Tell you what..I'll email.
    In a minute we are off to treat the shed.

  3. Gary,

    Just looking at the skip tired me out, you guys really put in a full day but from the smiles it looked as though it was a fun day. Sorry for not making any comments before now but for some reason I was unable to comments to some of the blogs I follow, yours being one. I sent out a cry for help today and got some really good advice and it looks as though I have been able to solve the problem. You guys seem to have been having a good summer thus far and I will be able to drop a note now to you know how inspiring you blog is. – gary

  4. 6 hours, wowo, bet you are both very tired. Well, were that day. Sounds like a great plan to grow your own veggies. How are you going to keep the insects and birds and squirrels, rabbits, etc. from eating everything as you don't live there to watch over it ? Netting, screens ? I watched your frined's video, he has a very nice voice. Did not understand the ' concept' behind the video or what he was saying though very well . Was it exile ? take care, Gina