Monday, 3 March 2014


 'Stodge' just about sums up the texture of the ground at the allotment at the moment. After all of the rain we have had, and are still getting, the water table is so high that when I pulled up a 12" wooden stake, the hole filled with water!
We haven't been down to the allotment for about four months, and every time we passed, our own plot looked greener and greener with grass and weeds. As time went on, we realised that a concerted effort was needed to get things moving as soon as we had a dry day, and so it was that in return for a curry and plenty of beer, we arranged for the daughters and their respective partners to help us with the task.
Celia stayed at home, and entertained the grandchildren while we toiled, as a bonfire and other peoples plots would have been too much of a distraction for them, and we would have probably spent more time watching them than getting on with the task in hand.
It was really hard work, as the ground is so wet and sticky, and the weeds were very difficult to hoe off.

The compost bins that we built last year needed to be broken up and burnt, as we plan to make newer and more streamlined versions this year, and so, although it was really quite cold, and the wood wet, a fire was blazing in no time, and provided some much needed warmth during the odd break.

By lunchtime we had finished, and all was now weed free and ready for a rotovator to be put through the soil when it dries out some more. The rain hasn't stopped since, and so I will probably have to weed kill at some point beforehand, as it looks as though it's going to be two or three weeks until it's dry enough for the rotovator. But at least we have a plot that is clean and ready to go, and a special thanks to all our helpers. We had made a giant vegetable tikka, with naan bread and vegetable samosas for everyone to gorge on afterwards, and with all that work there certainly was some feasting. Unfortunately our kitchen table wasn't big enough for all of us, and so Dom and I chose to stand and mingle as we ate.
It's 6pm on Monday as I write this now. It's the official start of the full year work schedule now, and so some planning is needed for the next few months (haha). Today has been a good and productive day at work. For now though, I am sat very comfortably in a pub in Brockenhurst, while Amanda is at college just next door. I think a coffee and a pint of 49er is calling.
In the meantime, Rebecca and matt have just started their own youtube channel, so if you fancy keeping up with them and their ghecko Lotus, just click on her picture in the sidebar. Please feel free to leave a comment if you like a particular video clip.
See you all soon.


  1. The " meal" photo made me smile x

  2. It is nice that your children come and help when there is a big job to do. You seem to have had a very good, productive day.

  3. It may be wet but it is warm. It will be a while before it's T shirt weather here.

  4. Hello Gary,

    Gosh that really does look like hard work. But, how satisfying it is to feel that you have readied the ground for some real planting action in the near future.

    We always loved the notion of an allotment but never got round to the harsh reality of owning one and working on it. Still, the thought of all that wonderful home grown produce later in the year is really appealing.

    Good teamwork from your family and the curry sounds to have been delicious.

  5. Gary,
    What a wonderful day and time you all looked to be having. I would have most enjoyed being there to watch the precision and organization of tasks that must have taken palace to achieve the allotment cleaning/preparation by lunchtime. Wondering if you could share said organizational knowledge as a professional with those novice gardeners such as myself who tend to wonder more than work :-)

  6. A cool day digging in the garden anticipating the year's crop sounds wonderful!!!!! Nice to see a family working together.

  7. Hi Gary, just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris