Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Plot on the Landscape

Allotments have become popular again, and, according to the Deal with It site, the average waiting list across the country has 59 names on it. I count myself lucky, therefore, to be offered a plot at Ringwould after a wait of only 18 months.

There are about 36 plots on the site, presumably chosen because it actually has soil on it, compared with Kingsdown which has about 4" before you hit solid chalk.

Some plots are beautifully tended with fruit trees, patio sets and sheds, not to mention dark brown tilth. The one that has been allocated to me, however, has overhanging Sycamores, weeds, grey soil and a myxi rabbit. It also adjoins a school football pitch, so hopes of a bumper harvest should be tempered by a dose of reality.

My last allotment (yes, I've done this before folks, and didn't learn my lesson) ..... my last allotment was on clay in Surrey, with high yields but with evil couch-grass and bindweed that were the devil to remove - here on chalk the weeds are mainly annuals so a decent-sized bed was cleared from the primeval forest in an afternoon.
But the saying is "One year's weeds, seven years' seeds" so the struggle will be relentless. At least now I know the names of most of them.
So it's back to the principles of the Soil Association and Gertrude Franck's Companion Planting and lots of good hard labour.

A new camera has arrived from Auntie eBay, but unfortunately it doesn't perform well in darkness or it might have taken a better shot of a Siskin that greeted me from the garden path when I left the house this morning.


DOT said...

For those who don't have the patience to wait as long as you, there is Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall's excellent scheme, Landshare, where those who have land and those who want land can meet:

Happy Growing, or whatever the traditional allotment owner's greeting is.

Warren Baker said...

I'd let the weeds ( wildflowers !) have there way steve and keep the allotment as a butterfly patch :-)

Kingsdowner said...

Interesting concept, David. There needs to be more such sharing in this world, I think.

Coincidnetally Warren, I've sown a green manure that only has a latin name on the packet, but which Michele in the US tells me is also known as Bees' Friend. I'll leave some to grow on through the summer (but I'll need some of the allotment for our own food!)

NW Nature Nut said...

I'm charmed by the word "allotment". My friend has a "community garden" spot and her British husband calls it the "allotment". Will you mainly be growing veggies, or exotic butterfly attracting flowers?

Anonymous said...

Hi Steve I was always taught that " one years seed meant seven years weeds"!
Happy digging from an ex holder.Gerald

Kingsdowner said...

Michele, we're very quaint over here. Presumably it's from back in the past when the villeins were "alloted" a piece of land to keep them fro starving.

Thanks for good wishes Gerald! I wasn't sure about the saying when I typed it, but I think it works both ways.