Our first post about our first allotment… So, this feels like somewhat of a big deal. Now, where to begin…
Once upon a time…
…there was a girl who wanted an allotment. She hoped and dreamed that one day she would become self-sufficient. But she had other things to think about. Things like starting her business and finishing her MA degree. She decided to put her name down on the allotment waiting list anyway and patiently sat back and waited with baited-breath. Meanwhile her business got off to a flying start and she pushed forward with her degree.
A year had passed and she was still waiting. One sunny October day, she went to submit her MA dissertation for final marking. Immediately after submission, she got an email. It was like fate had thrown everything into alignment. Just as one project finished, another was ready to take over. She had been given her first allotment…
So, that’s how it all started. We are almost five months into the experience now.
Jon, my fiancé, was roped into it from the beginning with no knowledge of gardening or whether he even liked it. He’s now decided that spending time in the fresh air is far more enjoyable than sitting on his backside playing computer games… even if he does still moan about it sometimes.
We were lucky. Our allotment is a half size plot. This made it seem a lot more manageable for us first-timers. It had also been worked through the previous year. This meant that, although the ground was covered in weeds and well-overdue veg when we got it, it wasn’t covered in thick brambles or a jungle that had us working through winter. We were able to work a few hours a week in October and November to trim down the weeds and cover it ready for the approaching spring. The beds were covered with thick, construction grade plastic to stop the weeds from regrowing. This allowed for the wonderful worms to do their thing by working the soil for us.
What’s in the Ground?
Speaking with other plot holders, it is the norm to find a little gem of a fruit bush or recurring vegetable stashed away under the weeds when you get your first plot. Well, not for us. Our plot was bare apart from some very woody parsnips and some tiny potatoes well beyond their harvest date. In a way this worked better for us; a blank slate where we weren’t trying to work around an already established fruit tree or berry bush.
We planted red onions and garlic in October to over-winter them. In doing this, we made a rookie error. We didn’t save the bag with the label in. Therefore, we now have no idea what type of onion or garlic we are growing. Bad times! However, we also planted some organic Broad Beans (Variety: Aquadulce Claudia) directly into one of the smaller beds. We pretty much left them over the winter period, went on holiday and got on with our lives. We came back and walked round in January. Nature had done it’s job and they had all sprouted! They are looking pretty special so far;
In addition to vegetables we over-wintered, we found space to plant some rhubarb. Although we are aiming for a fully organic garden, some things in the plot we were unable to find for a sensible amount of money. Organic rhubarb crowns was one of those things. So, instead, we took a trip to our local garden centre and bought two varieties of rhubarb which, hopefully, should supply us throughout the season. The varieties were Champagne, an early grower, fruiting in April/May, and Victoria,which also fruits at the same time. Both have a different appearance with Champagne having pinkish/red stalks and Victoria remaining more green. Hopefully, this will mean they have a different flavour too. The Champagne variety has already started to poke it’s head out even though we planted them quite late in the day;
Seeds. Seedlings. Lots of potting. Lots of watering. Lots of planning and building a polytunnel for home. That is pretty much what the following weeks hold for us. Spring is almost here which means it’s time to start everything off ready for the coming season. We also need to start giving the allotment some character. Making it ours. Turning it into a little home from home.
To follow our journey and read our brief musings, click here and click like!
Thanks for reading.