Archive for the ‘Alllotment’ Category

Seeking garden slaves

When I was a kid my dad used to look after an elderly neighbour’s garden. In return he used a patch at the back behind the flower beds for a vegetable plot. We’d get home grown veg without losing the cricket/football/rugby pitch we called the lawn, while Mrs Moss had a beautiful flower garden to enjoy, and sometimes a few spare veg. It was a lovely arrangement and I often see huge gardens owned by older people who must struggle to maintain them and wonder if more similar arrangements couldn’t be made.

An allotment often isn’t convenient for some people. Even half a plot can be quite big if you just want to grow a few annual veg. With the waiting lists for a plot in some areas stretching into years, getting an allotment may not even be an option.

Also it’s just a really pleasant thing to do as a community, sharing skills, resources and time. You could say that I am wholeheartedly in favour of garden sharing, however this notice I spotted at our local post office seems to be a bit cheeky.

Calling all idiots

Isn’t this just asking for a free gardener? “A variety of vegetables for a family of four” is a big ask. I’ve struggled to achieve that this year on my allotment for my own family. Filling this landowner’s requirement wouldn’t leave much for your own table. Plus you’d be paying for all seed, feed and equipment veg gardening demands.

Given tone of self-righteousness in this ad, the author will probably be amazed that no one wants to snap up his generous offer.

Perhaps they’ll follow up this add with:

“Free parking – Use my driveway to keep your car, all I ask in return is that you ferry me and my family (4) to and from appointments.”

“Free kitchen – If your kitchen is too small for all your culinary experiments, you are welcome to use mine in exchange for a variety of meals for my family (4).”

Voila, a gardener, chauffer and cook. I just hope they’re grateful for the opportunity.


Fed up of digging, time to plant something.


Allotment in a mess

It was hard to know where to start


I’ve managed to get quite a bit done at the allotment over the past month, despite the weather, and there is still a lot I want to do before the winter kicks in. But I am deeply bored of digging clearing and general tidying up. It’s getting demoralising, so when I next get down there I’m going to ignore the spade and start planting.

I’m normally quite happy with the mindless grunt-work that keeping an allotment, or garden involves, but it’s more enjoyable when there is a variety of tasks, which is why early autumn is usually such a great time for gardening. It’s a time when planting, harvesting, digging and weeding are required in equal proportions and they overlap to ensure that you can’t get bored. However the allotment had got to into such a bad state that by the end of summer there was little else to do but ground clearing.

Weeded bed

Slow progress is still progress

I may be a bit behind schedule, but I feel I need to do something different for my sanity (and back) so Garlic (Elephant, Solent Wight, Thermidrome) and Shallots (Jermor) can go into the prepared back bed and for every other patch of free ground. I’m sowing green manure.

I’ve not done this before, but it seems like something a proper gardener would do, so I’m having a go. Next thing you know I’ll be cleaning my tools.

Allota work

Weird panaoramic veiw of the plot.

Panoramic plot. taken while messing aound with my new camera

The problem with an a allotment is that once you let it get a bit out of hand, it’s easy to let it slip away entirely. You put it off until you have enough time to make a real impact on the rampaging weeds and overgrown grass. Of course that time never comes and as the weight of responsibility mounts with every quick harvesting trip, pretty soon you’re not even doing that anymore.

Trying to assuage the guilt, I’d written off this summer, promising that as soon as the kids go back to school I’ll throw myself into it. And now the time has come and as good as my word, I’ve spent more time on the plot in the last fortnight than the previous six months put together.

I’m even being thorough, taking bags of weeds and grass to the tip rather than leaving it to pile up in ugly ineffective compost heaps. I’ve also come to the conclusion that when it comes to turning over a bed matted with weeds, then you can either do it quickly or do it properly. At the moment, I’m going for the latter, but this could change if the weather turns.

I have now gone from desperately avoiding the allotment, to itching to be down there and getting on with it. Laid out with a bad cold means a few days absence has knocked my over-ambitious plans off schedule, but that’s a good thing as I think I was starting to get a bit obsessed.

There are other things which need doing. I have stuff to get on with in the garden at home, DIY around the house, some volunteer work I’m committed to, a course I’m taking, the occasional blog and there’s always the mundane housework which I have to do to justify my financial dependency on my working husband. Sadly you can only throw an outraged, don’t-you-oppress-me-you-misogynist-bastard scene so many times before you just have to get on with the ironing.

So things are inevitably slowing down from my initial zealous pace, but I’m getting there.