Browsing Posts published in January, 2012

My post yesterday was full of the joys of spring, and I was oh-so-happy that I’d been granted Plot 34.

Today, I was slightly delayed opening up -Diane had to pop down to Richardson’s -our favourite hardware store for some long hinges for Derek to start making some trestles.

She was only slightly late, so on her arrival, after a very brief cup of tea, we all trit-trotted down to my new Plot.

Yes, for a change, the sun was out, and both Diane and I wasted no time in whipping out our cameras, and happily snapping away.

My Plot had (…past tense, there.  I’ll explain in a bit…) two greenhouses -one larger brick and wood affair, then a smaller more modern aluminium one further forward on the opposite side.  There was also a fabulous old wooden shed, complete with sofa and chair and a table with an ancient-looking chest of drawers.

Word very quickly got round the site that I had been given this stunning plot, until it reached the ears of someone who will remain nameless.

Now, this Plot used to belong to this guy’s friend.  Along with all the tools and everything in the shed and greenhouses.

Well, to say that ‘Teddies Were Thrown Out Of The Cot’ would be somewhat of an understatement.

Most of what this guy said is completely unrepeatable here, but suffice to say the air turned a very nasty shade of blue, with threats of ambulances having to be called.

What was I to do?  As far as I’m concerned, I was legitimately offered this Plot and everything on it.  I have signed the form and its in the post back to the allotments office.

And yet this guy is/was convinced that it is his friend’s.

Now, I had planned to spend the whole of the next three days down there, clearing up and seeing what I’d been left.

Instead, I’ll be back here, finishing one last freelance job before I start a new full-time job on Monday morning.

I’ve already e-mailed the head of allotments at the council, asking him to clarify my position, so discretion being the better part of valour, I’ll pop down there Monday evening after work and see just what’s been left.

I suspect ‘Not A Big Lot’, but I sincerely hope I’m wrong.

Catch up with this continuing saga here first!


Area 34. The Start…

This is a new category.

I’ve brought it about because Plot 34 on our allotment site is now in my name!

I’ve been on the waiting list for quite a while now, and on ringing up the allotments office, I was told I was at the top of the list, and did I want Plot number 30?

This Plot is right at the end of the bottom lane, well away from ‘The Action’, but with it being at the very end, one of it’s sides is right next to a private garden, and the fence dividing the two is either very rickety or non-existent for much of it’s length.  Not good for security!

I had an email chat with the head of allotment services, and he said that Plot 34 further back down the lane on the opposite side had been offered and not taken up within the required time-scale, did I want that?

Does The Pope wear a pointy hat in the woods?

Plot 34 has a greenhouse and a shed -kindly left by the previous tenant.  Plot 30 has nothing.

Plot 34 has some very interesting -looking trees, shrubs and flowers.  Plot 30 has creeping thistle.

Plot 34 has an exciting-looking sculpture made of thin-gauge yellow gas piping.  Plot 34 doesn’t.

Anyway, long story only slightly shorter, but suffice to say that my acceptance form duly signed is already in the post tonight!

I’ll be going down The Plots tomorrow morning armed with my fully-charged and empty camera, so tomorrow night -after a much-needed shower, I’ll blog the photos and tell you what I find.

Exciting stuff!

Windy, rainy and cold! 22/01/11

Before I start, I must just say that yesterday was probably the coldest day I have ever experienced down on The Plots.

There were frequent showers, the wind was horrendous, and the cold was biting!

I arrived a little late, but Ian (no relation), Derek and David had already arrived.  Diane had thankfully put the kettle on, so we had a very quick cup of tea before starting.

Derek and David worked on the fencing down by the leaf clamp on the bottom Plot while Ian and I cleared beds on the Therapy Plot.Clearing beds.

You can see Ian here working on the long bed that held squashes and salad leaves last year.

Unsurprisingly, not many people braved the weather, but Sara and her girls came down -Sara now has her own plot further down the site, so she and her girls went down to carry on the digging that always has to be done when you take on a new plot.

Ian and I cleared two beds, then we planted 50 or so onions on the top Plot by the entrance path.

We also checked on stuff that had been planted just before Christmas on the bottom Plot, and we were happy to see that everything is coming up as it should.

We were also amazed that one of the blackberry bushes is starting to come into flower!  I’ll get a shot of it next time I’m down.

Anyway, short and sweet today, but you can rest assured that in the coming days/weeks, LEAF will be a veritable hive of activity.

More very soon!



Deep and Crisp and Even. 15/01/12

Back from our long Christmas break, it so easily could have been deep & crisp, but thankfully it hadn’t snowed.

It was certainly cold enough!

A beautiful morning.Over the last few days, its been unseasonably warm, but this morning Mother Nature let us know who’s boss.

Normally on a Saturday, we’ll meet for about 10.00, then over a gentle cup of Plot Tea decide who is going to do what, but today there was very little of that.

Obviously, we could have sat about complaining about just how cold it was, but we realised that the only way to get warm was to start work.  Hard work!

While Ian set about making a totally Plot Grown soup as a ‘taster’ for lunch, I went up to the bed on the top Plot where we’d planted the green manure last year.

I’d already hinted to Diane that I needed to DIG today -as much to keep warm as to get some exercise and fresh air.The green manure bed before I started work.

And here you can see it before I started -and note the frost on the ground!

Now, ‘green manure’ isn’t the smelly stuff you’d imagine!  Just forget the word ‘manure’ and concentrate on the ‘green’.

The idea behind green manure is that the plants you sow actually put nutrients and goodness back into the soil while they’re growing.

Normally, you’d plant your manure, then just a few weeks later you’d dig it into the soil as is, but because we’d left this in for so long, I had to clear it in the way I normally clear a bed, taking all the stalks and roots for compost in one of our compost bins.

As I was about half way through, Ian had done prepping up the soup, so we carried on together and here you can see it finished.Done!

Okay, yes, we could have completely ‘finished it off’ and got the top looking good enough to sleep on, but as Diane said, we’re going to have more frosts over the coming weeks, and leaving it like this will be good for the soil.  The frost will break up any of the bigger clods, but more importantly, the cold will help kill any harmful bacteria that are still lurking in the soil.

Meanwhile, Derek was clearing the ‘mound’ by the entrance way.

For some reason, there was an awful lot of grass on this mound -it almost looked like it could have been turfed, and I’m thinking that someone last year sprinkled a load of grass seed on it ‘just for a laugh’ while we grew the squashes and pumpkins on there.  Har har.

He then worked on the nearby fencing that last year had carried all the blackberries.  Unsurprisingly, the uprights needed some work after carrying all that weight!

Meanwhile, Gary was removing yet more bindweed from around this fencing, and a fine job he made of it too.

Very soon, more people began to arrive, and I think subconsciously they realised the same as we had -to get warm, you needed to get stuck in and break a sweat.  There was certainly no sitting about drinking tea and chatting!

Pretty soon it was lunchtime, and rather than make a whole meal of it, we all tried a small bowl of Ian’s vegetable soup made entirely from our produce, and delicious it was too.  Little Lisa even had a second bowl!

We finished up and carried on work pretty quickly.  Derek had to go, and Sara and her girls went down to her plot to carry on digging.

Ian and I went down to the bottom ‘Demonstration Plot’ to clear a bed of cabbage stalks.

And how easy it was!

The work we’d put in last year on the soil certainly showed.  Clearing the bed was simply a matter of gently lifting the stalks, then gently ‘fluffing up’ the surrounding soil, removing the odd weed and that was it.  Done!

All too soon, the light started to go, and I had to leave.  I’d left my cat, young Alfie, out all day, and he was certainly pleased to see me.

I was even more pleased to see my shower after a hard and cold day’s digging!



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