Bringing an allotment to life: April

I am now a man with a plan and the allotment is starting to take shape. Plus, my no-cost composter is established on site- can it get better than this?

My recent efforts have been diverted from clearing the land to planting things in it. Potatoes, broad beans, onions and garlic are happily, I hope, settled into the ground ready to do what comes naturally. In an effort at weed control, I spent quality time over the Easter weekend ferrying loads of straw (containing liberal amounts of horse apples) onto the planted areas. I intend then to let this organic matter rot down over time and mix it with other organic material to help nourish the soil over winter. The rest of the areas that have been dug over have been covered in weed-suppressant sheet to await further planting. (I really must look into the nutritional aspects of weeds as they are prolific, do not need much upkeep and really enjoy the scale of the allotment.)



Regarding results, I know I will have to see what happens this year, as I have not had the opportunity for preparing and nourishing the ground prior to planting. But, thanks to the efforts of the previous occupier, I am hopeful.

The rest of the plot is now waiting for me to reclaim it, quickly, from the grass and weeds that have accumulated over time and which now  are growing with renewed vigour.




* For more stories like this every week subscribe and save

Although a lot of work, the allotment is proving immensely satisfying. My last few visits, intended as a couple of hours, have turned into whole day marathons. There is lots of activity on the site and it is interesting to see the different age groups enjoying this pastime. One happy band this weekend consisted of mum and dad, with small children playing, beavering away on their patch of ground.

Refreshments are an important part of allotment life (for me anyway). A simple mug of tea from a flask tastes entirely different al fresco. It would not surprise me if there is the perfect ‘allotment blend’. I would be happy to put manufacturers’ teas to the test if they see fit to send me samples care of Country Life. (I am also happy to conduct field trials for the perfect allotment biscuit.)

As we are growing everything from scratch, we continue to share house room with germinating seeds and this only serves to focus my attention on preparing the ground ready for the little darlings in the coming weeks. With what lies ahead perhaps I should also offer my services testing muscular pain relief products.

The mind-wondering potential of solitary digging continues to inspire. It has prepared me with some snappy one liners for when chatting to fellow allotmenteers.

To the statement ‘ I always put well rotted manure on my rhubarb’, one replies ‘ Really? I prefer custard on mine’.

Or, slightly more racy, to the question ‘Do you compost?’ the response can be, ‘Only when I’ve been on the brown ale’.