There weren’t many things that could have made me pull on a coat and rush out in the snow this morning. An email giving me the unlikely news that I had an allotment “should I still be interested” did the job…
After two years on the waiting list I’d contacted the allotment association secretary at the beginning of December, asking if there was anyone who might be interested in a plot share, or whether there were any plans to extend the allotment site. As I’d not heard back, I’d given up, and was going to investigate Landshare opportunities locally. I settled at my computer this morning planning to catch up on some blog reading, write a post about rye bread, and carry on planning the pond bed planting scheme. There, lurking in my inbox was a reply to my December email. I assumed it was going to let me down gently again, so left it until last. I had to read it twice to be sure, but the contents had me running downstairs and performing a very uncool jig in front of my somewhat amused OH. After apologising for having initially missed my email it informed me that a number of plots had been returned and my name was now at the top of the list. It went on to give me a number to ring if I was still interested as one of the newly released plots was mine if I wanted it. Jig over, I ran back upstairs and rang the number. Happily the allotment secretary was sympathetic to my enthusiasm and agreed to meet me up at the allotments almost immediately, despite the snow.
So here it is, plot 4a. Prime real estate just inside the site, at the lower and therefore more sheltered end. It is a half plot, aproximately 10m by 12m. Previously a whole plot shared by 4 friends, it doesn’t split perfectly, having six largish (aproximately 2m x 3.5m) beds and then a portion of a couple of others which straddle the boundary. I have to keep a clear path running through the plot to allow access to the back half, which will soon also have a new owner, but otherwise it is mine to do with as I wish!
The allotments (19 full size plots now all divided into 2) nestle in a corner of the same field that hosts the Community Orchard I blogged about recently. Surrounded by native hedging, it is a lovely location in easy walking distance of home with great views out across the village and surrounding countryside. The strange tower you can see behind my plot is one of the air vents for the railway line that runs under the village here. Sadly there is a no livestock rule, so no chickens, but there again the plot is relatively small so perhaps that is just as well. More veg! I have ready access to a water supply, there are regular deliveries of manure and compost at a good price, and 40% off seeds at Dobies via the allotment association. I can have fruit bushes up to 1.5m high, and apparently half of another of the returned plots, originally a whole plot which again is being split in two, is totally devoted to fruit. The allotment secreatry said they were going to recommend the new plot holder allow other people to dig up plants to help him/her clear the area, so I may have a few freebies coming my way in due course.
I still have to head back out there when the ground is clear of snow and measure up properly, and will need to decide whether to work with the existing beds, which are too large to use a no-dig method on, or re-divide it. To say that I am excited would be an understatement, and happily I am far too ignorant to be scared – I’m just going to go for it, and learn by trial and error. I have several books from when we thought we were staying on Anglesey for longer and would be veg gardening there, so I am putting the pond bed planning on the back burner while I dream of rows of peas and broad beans, courgettes and squash, Jerusalem artichokes and beautiful annuals to bring in the pollinators. A whole new gardening adventure beckons, the perfect way to usher in 2011. I will be asking for lots of help and advice, so watch this space!