We’ve had our allotment for two months now. Eight weeks of very mixed, wintery weather. Rain, snow, frost, dry Easterly winds. Yes, everything that Winter can throw our way.
If you’d asked me two months ago, how it might look in April, then I’d have expected much greater progress. But I didn’t factor in the longest of Winters. Nor did I factor in that some weeks fly by in a juggling act of school runs and childcare. Not to mention the week I lost to flu. Yes, I’m learning this allotmenteering lark is much slower than I thought it might be.
But … yes there is one! … our allotment neighbours have said how impressed they are with how much work we’ve done. Mr Crafter and I are rather like flashes of lightning – we get the job done quickly and then we’re gone!
So here is a pictorial summary of our allotment adventure, so far …
At the start of February, this is how it looked … grass, ranunculus, couch, and overgrown raspberries … all happily growing in thick, sticky, compacted clay soil …
We started work on it and things began to look different. Not necessarily better in those early days! But different …
And we found a lot of last years potatoes still slumbering underground …
One of the biggest challenges we faced, was removing a raggedy row of raspberry canes. They’d been there many a year and no way were they going to give up their hold on the soil without a fight! Some of their roots were huge, gnarled and extremely reluctant to move:
But where they’d taken hold, their roots had created a fine soil. Hard work it may have been, but, like last years potatoes, the raspberries had tilled the clay for us.
The two little Crafties usually join us at the plot. They love to dig, roll in the soil, find worms and chat to other plot holders. There’s a wonderful sense of space and freedom when they’re playing here …
And then we asked and were given … a local business gave us some unwanted pallets and we’ve used these to make a compost bin. It’s not yet functioning – one of my jobs this weekend is filling the base of the bin with horse manure and then we can add the scraps we’ve kept from our kitchen. And our compost bin will be working for us!
I haven’t yet shared with you a diagram of the allotment layout. I will in due course.
But, we have started to build raised beds and, when all beds are in place, we’ll have a formal potager-style layout.
In my mind I see it in a few years time, full of flowers and vegetables all growing lushly in the glorious summer sunshine! But for now, we’re still building our raised beds (using gravel boards). And, of course, conditioning the clay soil. With plenty of muscle power there’s been a lot of double-digging, adding composted bark to improve drainage as well as organic matter. Fortunately I really do enjoy digging! It’s a great stress buster!
Take a good look at the two photos above. These were taken a couple of days ago. As you can see, now the whole plot has exposed soil. The raspberries have gone. All weeds have gone from above ground level (!).
We haven’t fully dug the top half of the allotment as yet, but that will happen this weekend. Our little shed will soon be sited where the wheelbarrow and fire bin sit. Oh yes! A shed is a-coming to our lovely plot! And it will be painted ….. sigh …..
It’s been good for me to look back through our photos and progress. And to remind myself that our allotment days aren’t an Olympic 100m sprint. More a leisurely walk through a meadow on a warm summer’s day. Yes, we’re in this for the long haul, and my dream plot will grow into being in the fullness of time.
Thanks for stopping by and reading,