Saturday, 7 February 2015

Back In The Game!


What have have we done? Signed up for a new allotment, that's what! Or, rather, we've signed up for what will, at some point in the future, be an allotment. Right now it's a bramble-strewn former pigeon loft dumping ground. But, in its favour,  it's our bramble-strewn former pigeon loft dumping ground, and there aren't any plans to close it down. After having a look round a couple of potential plots we decided that the fact that this site in Benwell is less than 5 minutes walk from our front door trumps everything.

We spent a few hours on site last weekend, during which the amount of work that'll be needed to turn this into a plot started to sink properly in. We started hacking back the brambles which had pretty much overtaken the place. These are a serious foe, more like trees than regular brambles.


We got a fire on and a good whack of the pricklesome enemy went up in smoke. There will need to be a lot more of this. As we cleared back the brambles, we started to realise just how much - and there's no other word for it really - shite is littering the patch of land we want to eventually cultivate. There has apparently been no-one attached to this particular site for a couple of years, and it shows. There's a hell of a lot of plastic, random lumps of wood and bags containing all manner of bizarre esoteria making the place look untidy. Many trips to the dump are going to be needed I fear.

Not my size, sadly
This classy bit of pottery may just have to be our mascot
We hired a van today, and with help generous help from the parents, moved a load of tools, water barrels and all the other stuff that you need on an allotment from the doomed site at Nunsmoor to the new plot in Benwell. Looking at some of the plots at Nunsmoor and the vast amount of work that has gone into them, it's such a maddening shame for a lot of the gardeners there. Some have only been on the site for a short time, but have made massive improvements to their plots, while others have been there for decades. Still: not our concern any more.


Our concern is going to be getting rid of as much of this lot as we can over the next few weeks so we can get some plants in the ground and start to think about how we want the layout of the place to be. One fantastic thing in our favour is that our neighbour Bob, who first told us about the chance of getting the plot, and has one of his own, is a total legend and has been putting in some serious time and graft sorting out the sheds on our site. He's put in a bench, fitted locks, built shelves and is talking about plans for converting one of the shed spaces into a greenhouse. Above and beyond doesn't come close.

Having been talking about taking (at least) a year off from allotmenteering, we're now looking forward, slowly, and bit by bit, to cleaning this place up. It feels a bit like starting a massive computer game over from scratch, just as you're about to complete it. We've got the same problem we had about 4 years ago; turning a seriously neglected bit of land into something that vegetables grow out of. I'm really looking forward to it.

5 comments:

  1. Our plots were bramble thickets too - serious gloves needed. Will you hire a skip?

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    1. Don't think we'd be able to get one close. Lots of trips to the dump and a few bonfires should do it. The fact that some of our allotment neighbours are helping out so much makes it a lot easier!

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  2. I think you have probably done the right thing, Lee. A lot of work, but really something to get your teeth into.

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    Replies
    1. Cheers Anne. Slowly but surely, we'll get there!

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  3. Good luck with your new allotment - looks like a huge challenge but I'm sure you're up for it. How lovely to have such nice neighbours too

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