When I originally took on this new plot, I made it clear that I would prefer more space than was available. The new plot is (within a meter or so) identical to my old plot so I haven’t gained any space by moving. But I have gained the ability to walk to the plot and saved a small fortune in the process. I now pay annually what I was paying monthly for the old plot, which is nice – but the single biggest advantage has been the fact I can walk there.
With the summer we’ve had, that has been a godsend. There’s absolutely no way I’d have been able to keep on top of things if I had to drive 30 minutes each way every time. Now, I can walk my daughter to school in the morning, then walk straight to the plot. I’m usually there by 9:20 am. Whether I spend the day there or just 10 minutes, the flexibility has transformed my approach.
The First Harvest
Obviously, I switched plots quite late into the season, so only around 20% of the plot has anything actually growing in it. But what has gone in has, overall, done well. Some of the Pumpkins, unfortunately, suffered from powdery mildew and had to be removed. However, the fruits had already reached a decent size and are ripening off nicely in the polytunnel. They’d already grown larger than any of my previous attempts.
Everything else has either grown well or is still growing strongly. The only exception being carrots, I only have 2 of those – germination has been poor to say the least! When I took the plot on it was heavily compacted and full of weeds. The first task was to get an area clear and planted. Thereafter, I’ve been working at a slightly slower pace. Mostly due to the weather, which made the already compacted ground like concrete. However, bit by bit it’s been dug over and is now ‘ready’.
I’ve previously shared my design for the plot and had planned to be getting the timber in place by now. A short time ago, it appeared the adjoining plot may be made available. As there were no people on the waiting list for this site, I’d expressed an interest in taking it on to double my space. However just as it did so, the site management were approached by someone else looking for a plot. As such, it was offered to them (which I have absolutely no qualms about). I have been, consciously or not, somewhat hesitant to invest the time and money into a plot that I know I will outgrow very quickly. My preference is not to have a plot here, another there and so on.
A MUCH Bigger Plot!
Recently, a large central area on the site had been cleared of weeds and tilled professionally. This area, I’m told, has been prone to some bad flooding previously. It was quite visible how it ‘dips’ in the middle. Their intention is to add a further large pond in the middle (in addition to the one already in the top corner of the site). This will not only solve the drainage issue, but also add a further source of water on site (which does not have a mains water supply).
In theory, being right in the middle of the site, it could also make for a nice ‘feature’ area. Either side of this pond will be new plots. One to the left which will be around 18sqm larger than the standard size on the site. To the right a space that would be roughly 2½ plots. I mentioned to the powers that be yesterday that I’d love to take on that large half, and they seem agreeable to the idea. Though it needs to be given the ‘ok’ by the 3rd member of the ‘committee’, who is currently away. Whilst by no means a certainty just yet, I’m going to hold off doing any ‘structure’ work on the current plot until I know for sure. I’ll give up that plot should the larger one be offered.
The uncertainty however doesn’t stop me from dreaming! Being much wider than the current plot, the new space would call for an altogether different layout. Not least because it will have a ‘stream’ (aka drainage channel) running right through the middle of it. I’m already thinking of ways I can make that a ‘feature’. Perhaps my own take on a Japanese garden. From a purely practical point of view though, the extra space allows me to not only have more growing space, which is the most important thing, but would also allow me space to have separate shed and greenhouse, rather than a slightly compromised combination of the two. It also means I’d have a home for the Polytunnel I already have.
I won’t know for another few weeks, but until then, I’ll keep dreaming.