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Starting this blog now (July 2020) means we have had the keys to our allotment for 18 months and as a lot has happened in this short time, this first post will be a potted history of what led us to this point.
When I say ‘we’, it’s me really. I have a long suffering husband who indulges me and helps out occasionally and he’d be the first to admit that gardening isn’t really his thing.
I think it’s fair to say I come from a gardening family. In their spare time my parents were both keen flower gardeners: dad’s roses were always a picture and my mum was a great garden designer. Both my grandfathers were into plants too, my maternal grandfather growing vegetables to a high standard. I have very fond memories of helping him harvest whatever was around when I visited them, and my paternal grandfather was a seeds man. There’s a family story that his lilies were shown at the Chelsea Flower Show in the late 1940s, but this hasn’t been verified, although it’s a nice thought. However, I’ve always thought any aptitude for cultivating had skipped this particular generation as I’m famous for killing house plants, unless they are bomb-proof like the spider plant or the good old cheese plant.
Back in April 2018, out of nowhere I felt the urge to grow something and decided on some peas. I had a vague idea of what to do – I sowed some seed into an old pot, stuck it on the kitchen windowsill and waited impatiently until they germinated. Our back garden is small but there’s an area along one fence that gets a lot of sun, so I rigged up some pots, planted up the pea plants along with some marigolds because I’d read somewhere that marigolds keep pests away, covered the plants with netting to keep the birds off and waited for the vast harvest I was expecting… and they grew! How green fingered am I! And if I can grow peas then the next logical step is a full-sized allotment of course! Never one to take baby steps, I rang the council straight away and put my name down. It’s at these sort of times dear reader, that you can imagine my husband’s face, with his eyes turning skyward.
Even I gave myself a talking to and, knowing that it would be at least a year to 18 months (if not longer) before a plot would become available, I thought that by that time I would have talked myself out of such a rash decision and would politely decline the offer. However, after only six months I got the call offering me a plot which is a five minute walk away. I was so excited I said yes without a second thought and, I have to say, it’s the best decision I’ve made in a long time.
I won’t deny, the enormity of what I’d said yes to did not pass me by (and still does sometimes), but I’m the sort to grit my teeth and carry on rather than bail out, I was going to make a success of it somehow…
In all seriousness, it sounds like a rash decision but looking back maybe, at that time, I was looking for a project to get involved with. I can’t remember making a conscious decision that an allotment was going to be the end goal but there was something about seeing the growth and development of those peas… and I have to say, you never lose the excitement of seeing those first shoots emerging, no matter what and when you sow.
In the next few posts I will describe my experience of those early days of getting an allotment and will highlight some of the things to think about if you are interested yourself. However, if you are thinking an allotment is not for you, hopefully you will still enjoy the read, as these posts develop and I share with you what I have learnt about the veg and fruit I’ve grown, you may still find something that is helpful.
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