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|
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.