New Year, New Allotment?

Well not exactly. But this is 103 when we took it over in June 2010, and while it’s sort of beautiful, it’s also a mess – a beautiful disaster in fact. It was teeming with wildlife (still is, if the large rat I saw on Sunday is anything to go by) and rich in biodiversity (just count the different grasses in that picture, if you can) but unproductive, unloved and deeply neglected. So what we have now feels very much like a new allotment.

This is 103 two days ago. The ‘path’ - which is just bits of broken paving that we have dug up during our efforts – circles the stump that was the elder tree in the middle of the plot. We have also cut down two other elders, both smaller than the one in the original photo, but kept one boundary elder. Both the oaks have gone, as have two of the three bay trees – the final bay is twelve feet tall and has a central (dead) trunk, nearly as big around as my waist … I have no idea how we’re going to work with that, but there’s something nesting in it (a wren?) and so we’re leaving it alone for a few months while we try to research bay tree rejuvenation.

On Sunday we put in two more rows of broad beans, lit a bonfire in the pampas grass after we’d spent ten minutes kicking it to remove any hibernating mammals, then another ten prising it apart with well-gloved hands to make sure any mammals had got the message. The only inhabitant seems to have been the rat, who wasn’t asleep, he or she was just cocky about out-waiting us and had to be persuaded to leave.

One of our transplanted raspberries has a bud, and the rhubarb (which is indestructible up to and including a ballistic missile) is throwing out big yellow crinkled leaves, so if we get some broad beans to germinate (and after seeing that rat, I rather doubt it) we’ll have at least three crops growing on #103 for the first time in who knows how many years?

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Blogger Z said...

Blimey. Good luck - though there's probably a lot of fertility there, once you deal with the roots and the wildlife.

When I had a patch of grass to bring into production, I just grew potatoes. Dug them up early and picked off the wireworms!

January 4, 2011 at 1:15 PM  
Anonymous allotments4you said...

Well it did look very picturesque before you started but you're right, it wasn't overly practical. I think it's amazing to see how much you have accomplished since you first got 103 and I can't wait to see how the year progresses for you.

January 5, 2011 at 12:41 PM  

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