It has been 6 months since we took on the plot. It feels like we have made decent progress in this time, but there is still a long way to go. We are lucky that there are no hard rules imposed by the allotment association regarding weed control and levels of cultivation – we can go at our own pace and keep the plot a little wild and rambly. We are not very ordered people and I think our plot reflects this.
We hope to work on improving the beds over winter, and get one ready for asparagus next year. We would also like to get the glass greenhouse watertight – and maybe even add a few panels of perspex to it. We intend to make a pallet shed to replace the plastic greenhouse as that one is no longer fit for purpose. I think our wildlife pond may have to wait until next summer.
We have learned a few lessons these last few months, especially about rabbits (see basically all of my previous posts). Even now we are suffering rabbit raids. One of the most important jobs over the winter will be to raise the level of our fence. We caught a rabbit jumping it the other day, so at least we know how they are currently getting in.
Next year we also plan to grow vegetables that we want to grow. This might seem a strange thing to write, but this year we planted a lot of seedlings that people gave us, not ones we would have chosen ourselves. Whilst we are eternally grateful for all the gifts we received we have come to realise that some were probably wasted on us. We are not particularly fond of turnips, and we still have no idea what some of the brassicas are. I think these type gifts would benefit other plot holders more. We need to stop saying yes for the sake of it when people offer us their extra plants as we do not expect other people to automatically accept our surplus.
We have watched how our plot has evolved through spring and summer and realised, a little too late, that all our beds are dug on the side of the plot that comes first into shade. It has been a warm, moist summer and I need to research plants that like to keep their toes damp in heavy soil. We will not plant much now until next year to see how the plot matures through winter. We are situated in a little dell that brings frost as late as early summer, and moisture sits heavy in the air. It is the perfect habitat for slugs and I think autumn frosts will come early.
The most important thing we have learned is just how much we love having an allotment, and how much it soothes the soul. Yes, I have shed tears when the rabbits ran rampant and stuffed their faces at our expense, but most days, when I shut that gate behind me, I leave wearing a massive smile. That little corner of land is worth every penny we have spent on it, and every hour we have toiled.