Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Yesterday two of my neighbours came and chatted with me and I was surprised to hear that many of the other plotholders had defended me saying that the old blokes can't expect everyone to have the same ideas as them about how to garden, which I was not aware of.
Since last year I have been keeping myself to myself, just going down, digging and going home, of course being civil, saying hello to people I pass etc. And last night I got the impression that lots of the others think that I have been totally put off of my neighbours by a few bad eggs and so they came to talk to me to say if you need advice, just ask, why didn't you say you needed wood etc, we would have helped you, why don't you participate in the association activities etc. I thought it was incredibly kind of them (even though one of them is an "old boy" who thinks that my plot is a bit of a joke, which he said quite frankly but also admitted that if I am happy with it and I get some things growing, who gives a toss? he kept saying "why do you do things in little squares?? just do big long rows!!" I tried to explain that this way I can reach the plots without walking all over the place and it allows me to rotate the crops and only plant small amounts, but he wasn't having any of that...).
Now I feel quite bad that I have obviously put down as a bit of a snob but really it is a combination of wanting to stay out of arguments and because I am always in a terrible hurry down there because my family don't quite agree with me having the allotment.
Still now I suppose I can feel a bit more friendly towards my neighbours, they were very kind, although they obviously feel that I don't know my arse from my elbow (I just don't have the time or the material often, rather than lack of know how). One good point: they warned me that I have aphids on my broad beans and told me to kill them with...vinegar!! And they explained how I should tidy up the borders - the old fellow said, "get your shovel, mark out the line of your plot edge with it then everything the is one the path, slide your shovel under the ground surface and just chuck it all out". I said but won't that just remove the top layer of the path to which he replied, so what? you won't have anymore weeds... so I will try that.
I do admit that I guess I feel a bit ashamed of my plot, with its grassy areas, weeds, uneven edges, empty spaces when I see the other perfectly weeded plots, in immaculate rows, not a blade of grass to be seen, all in a big raised beds with neat planks all round it. I have never been able to find enough wood to cordon off the plot with a little 5 inch high wood border like the others. And the others have been gardening their same plot for countless years.
phew - got that off my chest anyway!
Does anyone else have strange relationships with the other plotholders?
Having planted our potatoes our 89-year-old neighbour has said he will be back to earth up as we don't know what we are doing!!
I put up some bamboos and string for the mangetout and he was very intrigued. When I showed him the packet of seeds he said he couldn't believe people would want to eat the pods! We live in a very rural area!!
I wonder what he will say if I ever manage to grow some PSB - I've never seen it in France.
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