Allotment styles

I don’t know this particular allotment holder, but I like their style! The combination of excellent autumn ground-clearing and careful working around the little patch of wildflowers which will set seed-heads for the birds over the winter is an absolute winner. It’s a picture that tells you everything you need to know about the best of allotment life – a mixture of efficiency and environmental care that explains why allotments are my obsession.

Speaking of which, this is the time of year when hard-core allotment holders do what I can only call an informal audit – they sort of tour the site, pointing out to each other which plots are more than 66% waste ground or which haven’t been worked in the previous twelve months – because the process of removing allotment holders is a long and complex one, the serious allotmenteer knows that nothing much will happen this year, or even next year, but even so, this annual process goes on, and the old guard simply keep count, seeing whether fruit has been harvested, or ground turned. They might even tidy up a neighbouring plot themselves, to stop perennial weeds seeding into their own soil. Otherwise they just … watch.

It can be a bit intimidating at first, that feeling that there are eyes on you back as you hunch over fork or spade, but when you look up you can’t see anybody in sight, but it wears off very fast. And soon a camaraderie is established. This year I even found myself wandering round my local site with a couple of the veterans, pointing out a tree whose damsons were piling up under the tree and rotting, and a pond where duckweed had begun to creep OUT of the pond and into the paving, and I realised, slowly, I was one of them. I was a member of an old guard.

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Friday, November 30, 2007

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