Sunday, January 07, 2007

Have decided that yes, I must be a bit mad because I finally went down to the allotment today to reassess my good idea. After a very trying weekend, I got time to go down on Sunday afternoon, with Small One in tow. Shovel and a rake in the car, I was bent on a bit of tidying up but didn't really know what that was going to mean. First the struggle was to get in. For now I don't have the key, as the gardens lock up with a big gate, and since the fellow whose allotment I am taking hasn't given the keys back yet, I am keyless. But I found a fellow gardener who could give me a spare key so that was a stroke of luck.
Faced with the allotment, I have decided that it is quite big and that I am going to have to work bloody hard the first year to sort it out. Still, once I got going it seemed more promising. The last bloke has only got three rows of very weedy looking leeks still planted, hope mine are a bit more robust next year. I just basically started digging the plot up, pulling out the most conspicuous looking weeds and chucking them in the corner for starters, then I started digging over the earth, a couple of trenches full, filling the last trench with the second one's dirt then a light raking to make it look tidy. I guess I managed to do about 20% which seemed OK as I wasn't there more than an hour or so. Small One ran amok in the alleys, getting some exercise as she put it. Oh well, can't do much harm I suppose although I was secretly waiting for her to come back with some poor sod's cabbages in her hand.
One of the more important gardeners came to say hello, he's the president of the allotment association. "So you're our new gardener," says he, "and you're doing this with your husband are you?" "err, no" replies I, "just me, he's not really into all this salt of the earth stuff, although I think the kids will do a bit (trying not to look at Small One who is merely rolling in the dirt and waving the rake around in murderous fashion)". "Oh bloody hell, that's a look of work for just you" he says. Now, I am feeling slightly indignant and feel like mentioning that I am an Australian so obviously ingrained with that pioneering spirit, and this is pooftah's work because there are no venomous animals, thousands of blowflies and bull ants to contend with like at home and anyway I am of British stock and we are better gardeners than God but I look around at the weedy ground and in my heart know that the old bastard is right so I don't want to be too cocky. So I contend myself with saying "Well thank you for your discouragement" with a big smile. He doesn't seem to know how to take this, but he looks around and says "Well, it can still be done, if you keep at it regularly. In February you can already put in some onions and shallots if you like that and some peas, that will start to look like a garden then." After that I feel bad for my sarcasm of course. sigh. I was told that the last fellow was transferred by his work but from what this bloke says, I feel he let his guard down and got over run by weeds and gave it up as a bad job. Hope this is not my fate.
Good news is that the earth seems rich, nice and moist and chock full of worms and various other beasties who were probably not very pleased about my ministerings. Also the former tenant obviously planted a whole lot of spuds and never dug up half of them. I noticed what looked like old potato plant stems, all dried up and trodden over. OK so I know where not to planty spuds this year I thought then lo and behold up came a spud. A nice one, a "ratte" I think a nice salad spud. Then another. And another. Finally I found myself with a great pile of the bloody things. So plan is to eat some of the bigger ones (err especially the ones I chopped in half with the spade) and save the tiddlers for spring planting. Came back dirty but satisfied.
Now I bet that tomorrow's entry will involve severe agony in my upper arms and thighs because I've not done a great deal of exercise of late and my zeal probably brings with it a price, but I am trying to keep my eyes on the prize.

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Sounds like you have a great plot - loved reading all about it - keep up the good work.

Australia - where abouts do you come from over there - I have visited it often - and toured lots there.

Thanks for you lovely comments, very much appreciated.
Hello Allotment Lady! I love your blog!
I am from Brisbane which is more suitable for growing mangoes and macadamias than sprouts and beets.
What I love about my plot is that our association is really well organized, the allotments are all locked up, and we have sheds and water butts each, plus loos, a BBQ, a common room (like a big shed with tables and chairs) and a bowls area, although the kids play there. It is kept really nice and tidy and if you don't keep your garden nice, you're out on your ear! Some people in the UK don't seem so lucky, even though allotments are much more prevalent there...
Honoured to have my first comment from you!
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