Tuesday, 23 August 2011

The allotment - what a difference a year makes ...

I look at my allotment and I cannot quite believe that almost a year ago it looked like this ...

That first day I had in my head the way I wanted it to look, but I didn't know if I had the skills to achieve the picture in my head. It turns out that I  had some of the skills, but the best thing was the friendship shown to me and that friendship has resulted in the allotment looking better than I could ever have hoped.

My husband has worked incredibly hard on the heavy stuff - building raised beds for me and encouraging me no end. But I think the real turning point came when my friend Len arrived. One day the plot looked like this ...

 and then the next time I went down there it looked like this!!!

I have spent many an afternoon down on the allotment with Len. He has taught me how to dig, how to plant and prepare and his knowledge of the countryside is from a bygone age. He is kindness personified, wrapped up in a parcel of cheroot smoking, slipper wearing gruffness. He is now 80 and has been growing vegetables since he was 4. He knows everything!!

He built the runner bean frame behind him here for me and the other day we were joking about getting ourselves a little bench and a vase of flowers so we could drink our tea together. Next time I came down he had built us a bench!! Its made of some wood he found in the woods behind the plot - a 'for sale' post and the discarded slats of a bed. He put it together, varnished it and now I can use it for sitting, standing on to reach my beans and generally as an all purpose piece of genius!! 

You can just see it on the right hand side of this photo. I will take a better one when I go again - unfortunately my camera ran out of charge yesterday!
What a difference from the first photo. Len has helped me prepare the plot and my husband and I have made the beds. I have planted and as you can see I have so much stuff growing!! In the yellow mesh covered bed I have planted winter cabbages. I have Autumn raspberries growing, marrows, pumpkins, French beans, runner beans,cucumbers - all doing well and very tasty.

Next I plan to put down gravel on my pathways. Len is helping another new plot holder, but we still chat for ages and I love both the banter and the wealth of knowledge and kindness he has brought to my life. I wish I could bottle what I have and share it with you more!!


Gail said...

You have come a long way...it's beautiful. Doesn't it feel wonderful to get your hands diry? I love the earth, the feel, the smell and the touch.

Inkling said...

Tell Len that I love how he mentors people and I wish I could meet him. He reminds me of my 70-something year old friend Agnes who has taught me to sew clothing, can fruit, bake bread, garden, and do a million other things. We have treasures in our friends who are in the older generation. I so hope they know how much of a treasure they really are. I am so glad that Len popped into your life and that YOU are in his life.

sarah at secret housewife said...

Yes, Gail - I love the smell and feel of the earth too! When I started I always wore gloves to protect my soft, manicured hands - now I love getting them dirty!!

Inkling, I shall tell Len what you said.He is amazing! Your friend sounds lovely too.I said to him the other day that he should write his life story.He has knowledge that is disappearing from the younger generation.