A New Adventure Begins
With 3 years allotment experience under my belt, I'm ready to tackle a new challenge - with some big ideas.
If you follow me on Twitter (@ForkMojo), you'll be aware that a few days ago I signed up for a new plot. My original plot, which I took on in 2015, was my first foray into 'growing your own' since I was a child. That too, was a 'naked' plot when I took it on - as a brand new site, all plots were. I spent a great deal of time creating a layout and structure, and whilst it has served me well since, there's a lot I would change today - especially with a view to maximising the space.
The new plot is only slightly bigger - 5sqm bigger in fact. However, the site itself has better facilities - it has toilets(!), regular manure deliveries and good quality soil provided at no cost. It's also significantly cheaper - £35 per year, versus the £390 per year I was paying for the original plot. However, above all - and the main reason I started looking for another site, is distance - I can walk to the new plot in 15 minutes, rather than spending 20 minutes driving to the old plot. That in itself is going to totally transform my relationship with the plot and drastically increase my involvement.
The site itself was brought back into use last year (having previously been allotments until 1986, I'm told) - with a few improvements. However, whilst a tenant took on my plot last year, they apparently did no more than put down some advertising banners (the big 'sky sports' banners you see outside pubs - and a nightmare to move!) - and were never seen again! Judging from the state of the ground on my plot, I wouldn't at all be surprised if it was used as a parking bay for tractors & diggers during the reinstatement works - it's *very* compacted and uneven. However, the site itself is very secure and is adjacent to a country park, so you feel a world away from city life - a feeling enhanced by the constant birdsong that can forever be heard in the background.
As I type, I'm 3 days into being the owner of 'Plot 22' - though I didn't actually get started until 5pm on day one. So far, I've dug over around 20sqm and removed a decent amount of weeds (and bricks, and glass....). First priority was to get a few beds ready for planting out the various things I've hardened off at home. Now that they are ready, I'll be planting tomorrow. I'm not going to 'dress up' the beds or make any attempt whatsoever to make them look 'pretty' - despite every inch of me wanting to do so.
The prepared beds are at the 'front' of the plot. Once those are planted, I'll then switch my focus to the rear and work my way down - initially simply getting the ground broken up and reasonably level - then the real work begins!
I want to take this opportunity to do something a bit 'special' with this plot - something more that just row after row of raised beds. Perhaps deep down I wanted to be a garden designer, or perhaps I just like straying from the norm - but I'm incredibly excited about exploring some of the ideas I've drafted up so far, and I'll share my ethos and initial ideas in another post soon.