Belonging to the landed gentry at last!

I think I may well be insane, given the somewhat dodgy state of my back, but as of today, I am the proud tenant of an allotment plot, a little over 10 minutes walk from home.

We have lived in this town for 13 years and have mentioned having an allotment from time to time. We had one when the children were little and we lived in Hampshire and my dad always had one, so I grew up in the culture. But moving around the country, creating 2 gardens from builders rubble and working full time as well as being a mum have rather ruled it out in the last 15 years.

But now I only work 2 mornings per week, have the garden under control and both children are now adults, I technically have the time, if not the back!

What you see above is a neglected patch of Wiltshire clay, measuring 20 of my feet across (and they are smaller than actual feet) and 80 down. The previous tenant has cleared a little patch in the foreground where some starved leeks are growing and there is a wigwam of runner beans carrying some mature beans. There is then a stretch of about 40 feet of couch grass, bindweed and strawberries, and then another tilled patch growing a few thistles. I am standing in front of a patch of nettles, the remains of a compost bin and a high Leyland cypress hedge-you can see the shadow in the early morning sun. On the up side, there is rhubarb!

I spent an hour this morning cutting the grass path roughly with shears and wondering where to start. ….think I’ll go the garden centre and price up weed suppressing fabric and weed killer. I want to be organic, but I think I have to clear this first. Any suggestions?


6 thoughts on “Belonging to the landed gentry at last!

  1. I’ve always wondered… do you actually own the allotment or lease/rent it? From the title of your post I assume you own it, but was just wondering. That’s quite a good size garden… lots of exercise! Get a heating pad for our back… you may need it. ;0)

  2. You actually lease them from the Town Council, but as long as you look after them, the lease can be a long term thing. You can give them up whenever, as long as you let the Council know, so they can find a new tenant. There is a waiting list for allotments in my town-I have been on the list about a year!

  3. Congratulations! This will be so fun, to watch you slowly transform this plot.
    Round Up by Monsanto kills the plant but doesn’t harm the soil…
    Robert uses it–even with his Alan Chadwick training. But you wouldn’t compost the dead plants that have been sprayed. And of course, spray on a windless morning.

  4. I think the spray thing is the way to go, even though I try to avoid using chemicals usually. I think I really need to clear it out and then start to build up the soil fertility. Just got to control my impatience..: )

  5. Hi Judith, good luck with your allotment, if I had that space I would love to just grow cut flowers, ie dahlias, sunflowers etc. I think the chemical way is the only way to go especially with bindweed and couch grass as the slightest millimeter left in the soil by digging will make another plant, although do check about soil contamination especially if you plan to grow vegetables. Also patience is going to be the key as good soil preparation at the start is going to reap you the rewards in the future. Watch your back though, I know only too well of the effects gardening can have on these old bones.

  6. Thanks all for advice and encouragement. I lay awake last night thinking about the plan for the work and for what I am going to grow. I too decided both cut flowers and fruit were right near the top of the list.

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