The secret treasures of allotment life

Okay, the secrets of plot 201 is what I really mean. Like Sarah at She Who Digs we’ve got a new plot!

Well, not exactly. Once again we’re co-workers, but this time on a plot which hasn’t been worked for at least a year – and it really shows. The weeds were up to my chin when we first saw it, and the path had completely disappeared under grass and who knew what (I know what now, see below!)

201 does have a glorious shed, something like a small Swiss chalet – and of course there’s a downside to that too, because several of the panes of glass in the three windows have been broken and the pear tree that hangs over the roof in a very pretty way has also rubbed some very pretty holes in the roofing felt, meaning that the roof leaks in a very unpretty way which has to be sorted out pronto. But even so, I can imagine long summer evenings in the shed with a glass of something cool and refreshing, or maybe even an hour in a hammock under the pear tree … why not? A girl can dream.

Back to reality. I was expecting nettles, and I got them. I was prepared for thistles and that was good, because we have plenty. I was even ready for bindweed, fortunately, as that seems to be our major crop at present (it was twelve feet up a holly tree and five yards along the fence – is there a Guinness Book of Records entry for the most invasive bindweed?) but what I wasn’t expecting, and had no idea could even happen, was the total invasion of plot 201’s gorgeous brick-built path by … strawberry runners!

Yes, seriously. The middle section of the path is so riddled with tiny strawberry plantlets that it’s a danger to walk on it. When we finally found the strawberry bed they came from, we were amazed, it's more like a strawberry jungle - but an invading one. Who knew strawberries could be such a pest?

I’m reduced to digging them out, one by one, with an old fork. And there’s something really weird about that. Because as I was squatting in the rain, turfing out weeds with a bit of cutlery, I remembered a picture my Mum took of me when I was two-and-a-half, crouching in the garden, digging a hole with a soup-spoon – according to her, it was my constant obsession for months. Some things never change then!

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Anonymous Amy said...

I seem to have path envy, that allotment looks like it has huge potential, as well as strawberries of course. Good luck with the big clear up.

October 30, 2008 at 10:04 AM  
Blogger Mark Hubbard said...

Do you get a weed called oxarlis in England?

It's the bane of my life Down Under. It's got a small bulb underground, but very delicate shoot above, so just breaks off if you pull it, getting the gardener into further and further trouble, or me at least, for it slowly takes over the vegetable garden.

October 30, 2008 at 1:30 PM  
Blogger The Allotment Blogger said...

Thanks Amy, it's a wonderful path through a complete wilderness but we'll knock it into shape.

Mark - we do - it's called wood sorrel or wood shamrock and it can be incredibly invasive - you can try lifting it out with a hoe-fork in spring, because the new baby bulbs remain attached to the parent plant until early summer so you tend to be able to hook them all out together. Later than that, they detach easily, meaning it spreads even further.

November 1, 2008 at 5:57 AM  

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