Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Well this is the first post of a new blog which is exciting for me. I've had other weblogs in the past, but was really starting to feel I needed a dedicated one to write about my allotmenting exploits and record the progress on the plots.
So...a little bit of background...back last year around April/May after purchasing a pop-up greenhouse and a variety of tomato, courgette, squash, chilli pepper plants and some packets of salad leaves, oh and a few more strawberry plants, I decided it might be a good idea to apply for an allotment. My garden is a tiny thing and even smaller since the garden room got built. Every year I attempt an array of container veg, with varying levels of success. So I thought an allotment, albeit alot of hard work, would give me the oppportunity to have a proper go at growing my own. In addition, I also really wanted to have my garden back so I could sit outside, have BBQs and there would be space for people, rather than being covered with pots and baskets and growbags, so you can barely swing a BBQ fork around.
You regularly hear in the news about the ridiculous waiting lists for allotments - 10 year lists, people putting their childrens names down when they are born etc etc. So I thought why not pop my name down and see what happens in the next few years. And thus began my research into allotments in my area. Where I live is on the border of three different boroughs, and as i researched I discovered that council allotment sites can be managed in very different ways depending on the council. For the borough I actually live in, the council has decentralised the allotment sites and they are all self-managed. To get your name on the list at the sites you're interested in, you need to contact each site individually. This obviously takes time and depends on the responsiveness of each site. So I eagerly sent my emails off to all the sites within a few miles of my house. And then sat back to wait (or should I say, I checked and rechecked my email every 5 mins!). At the same time, I was googling around and spotted that one of the boroughs next door to me had been advertising no waiting lists for allotment plots. This had been the year before, but I thought it might be worth investigating...so i called the council and discovered that they centrally manage their sites. Within 5 minutes, I had a list of all the vacancies at sites nearby. I really wanted a full plot and there was only one available, so I went to view it. It turned out to be a half plot, with overhanging branches. But the soil looked good. I also went to visit another site in my borough, but the plot they had to offer was smaller and needed quite a bit more work and cost twice as much. So I went for the first plot I saw.
This is a picture I took when I went to view it. Pretty overgrown, but there were two blackcurrent bushes, a white currant bush, a bed of strawberries and autumn raspberry canes.
So I signed the paperwork and became the proud holder of Plot 18! And thus began my allotment journey. There's still alot more background to fill in and I'll do this over the next few posts.