Sunday, 15 March 2015

Here's one somebody else made earlier

We've been absentee allotmenteers this last week and a bit, as visitors from near and far claimed our attention. And yet significant progress has still been made, as if by magic. A path has been laid, a water gathering system set up, a gate installed and beds laid out. If you've followed any of what we've been up to with the new plot in Benwell since we took it on in January, you'll know it came with the added bonus of some unbelievably helpful neighbours who have catapulted its progress on way beyond what we'd have been able to achieve ourselves.

The above pic neatly sums up developments. So; what was new today, since the last time we made it up the street?

Well, firstly, we're now somewhat secure, with a padlocked gate where once there was an inviting gap.

Next up, the steep slope at the back of the plot has been taken advantage of, with three barrels having been set into it in a terrace-like set up. Newly installed guttering goes into the first barrel, which, once full, will flow into the lower two. Nice! The Romans, who wandered these slopes some 1900 or so years ago would, I'm sure, have approved.

With so much of the essential infrastructure now in place, thoughts can turn to actually getting some stuff in the ground. Not least as today brought the first noticeably warm sunshine that I've felt yet this year. We've got potatoes chitting on the living room window sill - Pentland Javelin earlies and King Edward main croppers for us this year - and onion sets ready to plant. Apart from that, we haven't really thought about what we'll be sowing and planting, but we'll need to soon as thanks to Bob et al's endeavours, there are three good sized beds ready to go.

Or at least nearly ready to go. I started digging through one which had been untouched to date. The sheer quantity and range of crap that came out just a few square metres of ground made this painstaking work. The fact that this bit of the plot - unlike some of the other sections - has never been grown on was clear from the amount of boulders and stones I pulled from the earth. That it has been used as a dumping ground was clear from the amount of plastic, metal and glass - so much glass - that I removed. That it was previously part of a pigeon loft was morbidly apparent from the occasional caches of bird bones I kept running into, which lent the afternoon a kind of avian CSI/Killing Fields kind of vibe

Basket o' shite
The mental trick to play on yourself here is to think about how every little bit of crud that you extricate will never bother you again. And once ridden of tat, the texture of the soil is remarkably light. There were some significant bramble root systems to get out and the odd bit of bindweed, but nothing too drastic on the organic side of things I think.

I staggered the 10 minute walk home reflecting again on how we've fluked this plot. We're not bad at growing stuff, but pretty rubbish at building and repairing stuff. To have allotment neighbours who have thrown so much of their time at doing exactly the bits of turning this dump around that we'd have struggled with has been brilliant. My initial thoughts were that if we got anything in the ground this year that would be a result. That we're looking at using so much of the plot in this first year is a complete bonus for which we're supremely grateful.


  1. Great progress and looking good. You are lucky to have such good neighbours.

  2. You could move in to those outbuildings the ground looks really dry. All in all an amazing transformation in such a short time.


All comments gratefully received. Sorry about the word verification thing, but I've started getting bombed by spam.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...