Allotment bonfires and broad beans

You know how people boast about the awful state of their allotments when they took them over? Well indulge me for a second, please, because it’s not an exaggeration to say that plot 103 has brambles as thick as my thumb, and here’s a photo to prove it. The thickness of the bramble really doesn’t matter, anyway, it’s the viciousness of the thorns that you have to worry about, and as you can see, this particular monster is well equipped with sharp, curved and extremely penetrating defences.

So, we’ve been clearing bits of the plot that we’ve never seen before, and just as I was congratulating myself on hacking back the Sleeping Beauty vegetation I found what it’s been hiding, and it wasn’t a princess – it was another elder tree. That makes three on our plot (all now removed) and three on the boundary where we can’t cut them down. There are very few trees less amenable to cultivation – an established yew or a sycamore will both stop anything growing underneath their canopy, but an elder has roots that snake and spider in all directions, rendering the soil undiggable.

All of which made the fact that we are burning the previously cut down elders rather satisfying. A bonfire is always fun, and a bonfire that destroys the pernicious elder is cathartic.

And when we weren’t indulging in slash or burn, we did actually get on with some agriculture – planting the first two rows of broad beans, using some of the old walking sticks from the voodoo shed as markers for the rows, and then strewing the rows with holly clippings to try and deter mice. We also moved a rhubarb crown down from plot 201, and I planted some flower bulbs in and around the roots of the boundary elders in the hope of getting something, if only colour, out of the soil there.

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Monday, November 22, 2010


Anonymous allotments4you said...

Well you are definitely making progress...did you keep any brambles on your plot?? How I miss being able to have a good bonfire!!

November 24, 2010 at 12:13 AM  

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