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Allotment Update


By siris


The allotment I lease is 5 Rods, that’s approximately 125 sq m. When the site was started, 11 years ago, the plots were 10 Rods each, as is my neighbour’s on the left side.
My plot is the top 1/2 of a 10 Rod plot, the lease of which was withdrawn from the previous occupant who had let it go for several years, but still leases the bottom 1/2 although they have had several reminders about its neglected condition.

I start digging in August in the bottom left corner.

Below is the bottom 1/2 of the original plot. I call their remaining 1/2, Steptoe’s Yard. It has 2 derelict sheds, a greenhouse full of weeds, a willow tree in there and lots of rubbish. A main allotment path on their right boundsry is overgrown with their vicious thorned-brambles as was the dividing path between Steptoes and mine. I’ve only seen the occupant twice over the last 4 months.

After strimming my plot. I carefully cut around anything I thought might be worth keeping. I find a Rhubarb and an Asparagus plant, which were then marked.
The Council provides a compost bin to encourage composting but it was full of plastic rubbish.
At this time I was throughly demoralised should I not get round to clearing before the weeds regained control. At this point I purchased weed suppressing mat to put over where I had dug.

I redig, gradually taking out the reappearing noxious weeds, Couch, Dandelion, Potentilla, Ragwort, then replace the membrane, to be redug another time.
Membrane stops reseeding by weeds, but does not stop tap-rooted weeds already under the mat from regrowing, so needs reweeded. I forget the number of bags of weeds I took to the Council tip.

I continue the digging. OH builds me a Girl Shed from the slats of pallets. I am given Advice: don’t lock your shed it will only be vandalized by thieves looking for power tools. It’s less destructive for them to open the door and discover there is nothing of value inside! I am given some surplus Purple Sprouting Broccoli plants. Advice: Net them to keep off Pigeon pests. I put them into the newly triple dug corner and cover them with some old green netting. Continued the digging towards the top left corner, finding it full of old rubber (tyre?) scraps.

Continue digging along the dividing path between Septoe’s towards some desicated bushes, which turned out to be Blackcurrants, with Steptoe’s Blackberries emerging amongst them. I dug a moat around the Blackcurrants and flooded them regularly with water. Only one plant recovered, so I spent 3 days with a pickaxe grubbing them out and clearing the intruding blackberry roots out of my plot and the shared path. Then I hacked the one decent plant into pieces and potted the pieces up for regeneration.

Reinstated the dividing path completely, although only obliged to maintain to the centre line. (Horizontal line in pic)
Remember the Rhubarb, that was dug out (understatement) haha, leaving a huge hole. I fIlled with soil. The Rhubarb must have been put in when the site was made some 11 years ago. I chose a bit of reasonable root and moved it here to the bottom right corner.
I bought 4 Strawberry plants. Yes, only 4 as a trial of different varieties. Advised: mice gnaw the plants. The Cambridge favourite had runners forming so after growing on I planted them here. They since have been moved to the front of the regenerated Blackcurrant area.

At the same time as I bought the Strawberries I bought Kale and Spinach seed, sowed them in pots then put a few into the first area worked. There are still 2 Lollo Rosso lettuces remaining (Nov 27) under the white net and some Rocket further along.
See how the Purple Sprouting Broccoli is doing. (Last week. Had to raise the netting frame.

Did I say OH also built me a double compost bin with removable front slats from more old pallets. The Council bin is useless for compost so I have put it into Rhubarb corner to blanch the new shoots. At present it is sitting astride a huge lump of concrete, the base of a post, which I removed from the centre of the plot. I will need help to further remove it.

A fortnight ago I bought some more Asparagus crowns and planted them into the replenished old Rhubarb place. Also I’ve just planted 2 types x8 Raspberry canes in 2 rows, just visible in the above photo, adjacent to the 2 white walking boards.
Advised: after heavy rain the site waterlogs!

In progress:-setting out 2 sets of straining wires (rope actually) onto which to tie the canes.
Continue to use pallet timber to edge raised beds, putting the top soil from my created paths onto the beds.
Advised: the free Council tree clippings rot too quickly, too leafy.
To do: replace my path’s cardboard underlining and leafy clippings, composting them as they rot. (Still OK) Replace with better weed suppressing material and woodier chippings.

The whole site has been dug once, some areas twice or more. As the work progresses next year, the materials put on the membrane to hold in place will be use and the plot become tidier.

My Allotment as of November 28.

Advised: Don’t try to do it all at once. Don’t worry if it’s less than perfect. Both bits of advice I have not heeded!

More blog posts by siris

Previous post: Where Have I Been

Next post: Flowering at Home yesterday 4th December.



Completely lost in admiration...Its so sad to see allotment get into that state. Did you take any time out to attend keep fit classes???

28 Nov, 2018


Well done on all your hard work ... great improvement.

28 Nov, 2018


Ha, Ha, Stera, as I spent 6-7 hours most days on the allotment, there was no time left for exercise classes!!!
Thanks Terra, it should be ready for proper allotment growing next year.

29 Nov, 2018


So much hard work you've accomplished. What a change from the last update! Congratulations, the rewards will be great!

30 Nov, 2018


Oh my word, Siris, you have worked wonders. I really am full of admiration.

30 Nov, 2018


At home, next door neighbour had their property altered, so with their permission I scavenged their builders' rubbish skip each day for useful bits, roof tiles to keep the weed membrane from blowing up, bricks to put around the shed and pallets for wood for the bed edges.

1 Dec, 2018


Great idea to recycle those items, Siris. I do similar in my gardens with old bricks, re-used wood, old pavings etc.

1 Dec, 2018


You have worked wonders Siris, you wouldn't know it was the same plot.

1 Dec, 2018


Terra, saves those items going to land fill.
Thanks Thorney, I've got veg and salad seeds on order for next season, and have allocated places for the plants in my head.

1 Dec, 2018


Remarkable - a true master class in what can be achieved. Really inspiring - well done you.

2 Dec, 2018


Thank you everyone for your kind comments. It's at a stage that I am happy for it to overwinter by itself, just go to pick bits of Rocket, some curly Kale, the remaining leaves of Lollo Rosso lettuce, check that the wind hasn't blown off the eco mesh and see if the Purple Broccoli is sprouting.

7 Dec, 2018

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