This blog is about me and my fella Adam (he's the one who does the manly things like digging). We live in a little house in Bedford, with a garden that just isn't big enough to grow all the tasty veggies we want to. Here you can read all about our steep learning curve on our two-shedded allotment.
So, we’d spent time walking past our local allotments, getting more and more interested in the mysterious things that other people were growing and the ingenious uses that people had found for stuff that non-allotmenteers would probably term ‘junk’.
In March 2007, we spoke to our council, and discovered that our local allotments aren’t council owned - it turns out they’re held in trust. So, we decided to find the secretary. We spoke to Mike and Louise who were really welcoming and enthusiastic, then eventually tracked down Alan the secretary and, a few weeks later, we chose a plot with a little blue shed, a water butt, a small bench, and a patch of oregano.
We dug. It was April, and for those of you who remember April 07, it was hot, hot, hot. The ground was like rock. Adam was having to jump onto the fork to get it into the soil. But we persevered – this was our new veggie patch! We had plans for a herb garden over there, and some rows of beans over here, a compost heap at the back and flowers planted down the edges… until, one week in, a little old Italian lady turned up and claimed the plot was hers. Wah! Much confusion ensued, until we decided we’d rather not have the hassle and uncertainty, and much less be known as the new guys who kicked a little old lady off her plot. Gracious, no.
So we found a new spot. South facing, with rhubarb, gooseberry bushes (I didn’t know they were spiky!), a damson tree (which we thought were plums to start with – till mum made Damson gin and we recognised the fruit) and the Biggest Strawberry Patch In The World.
Twas overgrown, tis true, but much better than plot number 1. Hurrah for little old Italian ladies!
And two sheds! His and Hers, obviously, mainly because mine isn’t quite tall enough for Adam to stand upright in. So, mine has the tea and coffee making facilities, small gas stove, radio, seed packets on nails and an assortment of gardening gloves, while Adam’s has all the manly things – tools, wooden crates, useful bits of wood, tangled netting and carefully wound up bits of wire.
So the digging had to begin, again. After assessing the plot, with some useful hints and random-plant-identifying by Mike, we headed home to get forks and other digging equipment. Ten minutes later we returned to our overgrown plot to hear a strange buzzing noise, and find Mike strimming all the thigh-high weeds with his petrol strimmer! Thanks Mike! A good start to our compost heap… (Add 'build compost heap' to the To Do list.)
And then, half an hour later, as we’re just beginning to curse the sun for being too hot and the earth for being too hard, around the corner of our sheds comes our saviours Mike, Louise and their mate Ali, on white stallions, (no, not really) all brandishing forks and ready to help us dig, till we’d dug the same amount we’d done on plot no.1. Bless ‘em.
And then it was all go! Nine months later, 2008 seems promising. We've read many, many more books, got more ideas and got much more ambitious. And we've actually grown stuff which tasted gooooood. It could still all go horribly wrong, but even if it does I can guarantee we'll still get some tasty fruit and veg from between the weeds, all for a few pence, and a bit of blood, sweat and tears... (well, hopefully not the blood or the tears... just good ol' elbow grease.)
And a bit of help from our friends and family. Any time, chaps - you're very welcome! We'll get the kettle on...