Its been a little while since I talked about my allotment on here. Some of you may be relieved about that ... However, I think the time has come to shake the mud from my gardening gloves and do a little bit of typing so that you can see how its coming along.For those of you who are not into gardening, allotments, vegetables ... well, what's wrong with you??? Pull up a chair, pour yourself a glass of wine/ cup of tea and prepare either to doze off or ... well, probably just prepare to doze off really.
Just to remind you, if you haven't been here before, or if you had forgotten, this is what the allotment plot looked like when I took my husband to see it in August 2010. Needless to say, he thought I had lost my mind.
I, however, had a picture in my mind of how I wanted it to look and we are beginning to get there.
We started by chopping everything down as far as we could. Then we covered it so that the couch grass and nettles died down. When that was done we slowly began to dig over the plot in small sections.
That first year I really didn't think we would be able to grow anything, but we did. The other allotment holders were wonderfully supportive and generous and before long I had been given Autumn fruiting raspberries, blackcurrants, strawberries and lettuces. An elderly gent, L, who has spent his whole life in the countryside and who could definitely be called a rough diamond/rogue has adopted me and without him I would be way behind where I am. He and I spend the happiest afternoons together, digging, chatting, planting ...
Last year the season was dreadful and hardly anything grew. I lost a bit of impetus really. But this year? This year I have renewed enthusiasm!!
This is what the allotment looks like today ...
This photo was taken from the same spot as that first one. We, well, my husband, has made raised beds and we have put down weed mesh and gravel pathways. You can see in the foreground my herb and rhubarb bed. On the left of that I have leeks and cucumbers.
Behind that bed is one with beetroot, lettuce and more leeks, all interspersed with French Marigolds.
On my big flat bed I am growing summer cabbages under netting. I have sussed how to net my produce this year! In previous years it has been somewhat disastrous!! Around the top sides of the plot are my fruit bushes. The pigeons tend to come and sit on the branches if you're not careful so I spent a lovely afternoon creating a Heath Robinson-like netting cage to protect redcurrants, gooseberries, blackcurrants.
The top edge of the plot is full of raspberry canes. I have Autumn fruiting ones which are yellow when ripe and beautifully sweet. There are also Summer fruiting which I put in last year.
This long bed has strawberries growing down its side, but will soon be full of climbing French beans which are currently in my little stand up green house at home. In the background you can see my blue water butt which will soon be full of liquid feed. My lovely L ( my gardening guru) has told me to get a little bit of horse manure or maybe some chopped up rhubarb leaf in a netting bag suspended in the water and liquid feed will ensue!
Here you can see my summer raspberries and then in the earth I have planted Charlotte potatoes. I am hugely late with these, but they will either grow ... or not!! In the netting are my Brussels Sprouts, again given to me so kindly by another allotment holder. Hopefully we will be able to eat them this Christmas!
This is the view from my raspberries with sprouts on the left, cabbages on the right. The first bed on the left has a courgette plant, as does the second bed, this time donated by my lovely sister-in-law. At the end is a bed with a marrow plant and a butternut squash.
From here you can see my courgettes on the right and marrow on the left. Both will grow massively soon ... I hope!! On the left you can just see my composter, made from pallets I got for free from a timber yard.
When we first got the allotment there was so much rubbish to dig out, amongst which was this old broken wheelbarrow. This year I have filled it with compost and planted nasturtiums. I plan to add salad leaves too.
I cannot tell you how much I love being down there. Spending an afternoon alone with my veg with only the sun, the breeze and the birds for company is wonderful. Some days I get down there and the lovely L is there doing some weeding, some digging. He is over 80 now, but the most amazing man - so interesting, so full of knowledge. We often work alongside, bantering together.
If you had said to me 5 years ago that I would have an allotment I would have laughed at you. It always seemed the realm of old people!! Maybe I am getting old ...
But there is something magical about turning a neglected and rubbish strewn plot of weeds into a thriving vegetable garden. I started knowing next to nothing and I still have so much to learn, but every day, every season I learn more and more. I still can't quite believe that I can actually grow things to eat!! I just wish my house looked as neat!!