Tuesday, January 30, 2007

It was an interesting weekend garden-wise. First on the agenda was the annual meeting of the allotmenteers association. Of course they grumbled about attendance, about 40 out of 180 but maybe some of them can't get that far on their zimmer frames. I was by a long shot the youngest person in the room, and a woman to boot, as they were about 90% men. Of course I also found the only other "foreigner" in the place, an English guy who gardens a few plots down from me. SO starting to make acquaintances.
The meeting itself was hilarious. There seems to be a lot of animosity between gardeners, so strange considering they all just need to cohabitate in order to grow a few spuds. But no... last year's town fete was the opportunity to have a "hot chips and salad vegetables" stall, to make a bit of pocket money (about 500 euros as it turns out!) To my surprise, they started accusing each other of putting their hand in the till! I don't know how they can be so bare faced. Then there were other squabbles about the budget, which seemed largely unfounded IMHO, before they got personal, calling each other alcoholics, and crooks and dictators, and one old fella calling out "the rep from garden number 2 is a disgrace, his garden has been untended almost all year, we should chuck him off the committtee". I hope no one noticed me in fits of apoplexy in the corner, as I found it all hysterically funny. Naturally none of the name callers actually volunteered to get on the organizing committee and keep the bastards honest, so I expect it will be a free for all next year too. Anyway, I paid me monies so now I am a fully fledged memeber of the chaos.
During the "glass of friendship" (totally ironic) at the end of the meeting, I managed to wheedle some information out of some of the old timers, who almost all confessed to chucking weedkiller all over their own plots (eeeek!) and who didn't understand why I would want to do any mulching or covering things in straw. But one did give me some advice. I asked if he composted and he said oh I don't bother making a big heap, I just dig a hole and bury it. Oh really? yep, sounds like he does a bit of trench composting.
Everyone except me (and to some extent Biggest one) was sick in my house this weekend, some lurgy, but I still got the chance to go to the garden. A girl from work gave me some old fencing that I stored in the shed. And a stroke of luck, someone seems to have dumped a water barrel!! With a bit of difficulty me and the lad heaved down to our plot where I managed to nestle it next to the other one. I'll have to rig up a tap on it (there is a hole for that) and some tubing for the overflow but I am on the whole rather pleased with the setup.
And inspired by the old fella from Friday and seems to me our very own Allotment Lady for her beans, I got in with the shovel, dug a long trench where I wanted the strawberries to go later, and filled it with a few days' worth of kitchen peeling, egg shells, some newspaper and the coffee grindings from our machine at work. Then I covered it over. I am currently saving each night's vege scraps in a separate bin, wrapped in newspaper and every weekend for a few weeks I am going to keep doing this, where there will be above ground plants like the tomatoes, beans, lettuce.
To finish off the hard work, my apprentice and I chopped up the old carpet that was spoiling my bedroom deco and put strips of it down as pathways in the plot. Got quite a bit covered, still one piece missing between the future tomato and onion beds.
Here's a piccie of the carpet: I took this with my back to the shed but it shows you some of the other (better) plots:

And here is my apprentice, which gives a good view of the whole plot and lets her show off too. You can see my water barrels there and that is indeed my shed. The messy things just in front of her is the compost pile, that I protect for now with two old crates:

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Hiya antipodesgirl,
Thanks for your post on my site. I've seen two other families on plots near me, but never when my kids have been there - bugger! But they still love it, especially since we got them a proper kid's shovel from the shop. Although I've quickly learned to mark off an area with twine & tell them to "dig that lot over" & if I dig up an old potato I give it to them to "replant"... It all seems to work.
Hooray! I have been commented by Mr Toad! Great! I love his blog. I like the free digging labourer idea, I will have to follow that one up! Thanks for visiting!
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