I’ve done it! I’ve reached my 1st anniversary. A year ago today I collected the key to the allotment. If I’m completely honest I had absolutely no idea how much work it would entail but, sometimes it’s better not to know these things until afterwards.
This feels like a good time to look back to what the plot looked like when I took it on and the progress I’ve made. This is the first photo I ever took, before I’d even picked up a spade.
Looking at this photo, there have been some pretty major changes. I have moved more rubbish than I care to imagine. I’ve dug over nearly every square inch of the plot and chopped down or dug up a huge amount of weeds. I’ve grown peppers, potatoes, squashes, carrots, courgettes (so many courgettes!) and parsnips – all this, despite me thinking my first year would just involve digging and preparing the plot, not actually growing anything – how wrong was I?! I’ve made new friends and learnt new words (chitting still makes me giggle a little bit!) I’ve made mistakes (lots of mistakes) and had some triumphs. I’ve received help and guidance from people with far more knowledge and experience than I may ever have and I’ve followed my own instincts which have sometimes been way off and sometimes been spot on. But most of all, I’ve enjoyed being outside, digging the soil and growing my own produce and I hope to enjoy many more anniversaries on the allotment.
The first thing I bought for my new allotment last year was potatoes and I kept up that tradition this week when I bought some more. AA has asked a couple of times if I’d bought any yet and I was starting to worry that I hadn’t. Michelle was slightly more relaxed about the whole situation ‘they’ll chit the same whether they’re in the shop or on your windowsill’. I liked her thinking but still didn’t want to wait too long incase I left it too late to find any nice ones. So, after college on Tuesday I took my 2 helpers to The Range for a hot chocolate (still not quite warm/dry/light enough to take them to the plot) and I picked up some Maris Piper seed potatoes. I told AA what I’d bought and he said I should have bought ‘earlies’ not ‘main crop’.
I’m still not entirely sure what the difference is but, as ever I took his advice and popped to the local garden centre to buy some ‘earlies’. Both ‘earlies’ and ‘main crop’ are now chitting (heehee!) on my kitchen windowsill. I think I’ve decided to plant them in the ground this year instead of the tub I used last year – possibly in the bed that currently has the green manure growing on it.
The weather’s been a real mix this week. Some really wet and windy days interspersed with beautiful sunshine. I’ve mainly concentrated on the enormous pile of rubble that has, fairly quickly accumulated from the extension. I now have 23 sacks of concrete and rocks ready to go plus a small pile of the same too big and heavy to go in the sacks. The extension now looks wonderfully empty!
On Saturday, Louis and I attended our first ever men’s premier league football match (my friend used to play for Arsenal women and now plays for Watford and Louis and I watched her play a few years ago) Watford played Everton and won 1-0 It was a fun, if cold afternoon – Louis enjoyed it more than I did and I think he would like to go again. Fortunately we have friends who are season ticket holders and are happy to take him so I don’t have to! I did find myself in the very strange position of actually wanting to watch Match Of The Day last night to try and spot us in the crowd but I suspect that was a one off and won’t happen again.
Since being given a compost bin I’ve added to it most weeks – generally kitchen scraps and cardboard and paper from home. Weirdly I can’t add much from the plot itself as the ever present threat of bind weed would ruin any compost coming from the bin. Having watched various You Tube videos I’ve learnt, to make compost you need a good mix of ‘green’ and ‘brown’ materials and you need to turn it all regularly. I always had a pretty good mix in there but, due to the lack of a door I wasn’t able to turn it without it all falling through the gap. Since the hatch door has been in place I’ve been able to get the fork in there and mix it all up, and it looks like it’s working. It really looks like I have the beginnings of compost in there.
Every year Louis and I wear our odd socks for World Down Syndrome Day – well, to be fair Louis wears odd socks most days but he’s supposed to wear them on World Down Syndrome day! For the last few years we’ve ordered official ones from the Down Syndrome Association. This year I’m also holding a coffee morning on the day to help raise awareness and funds. Our socks arrived this week and I took a photo of them to post on social media. After I’d posted the photo I received a message from Louis’ stepmum asking if the socks are deliberately odd because she has 2 odd socks just like them in her odd sock drawer waiting for their other halves! Bless her, she’s paired them up now and put then into Louis’ room.
I’ve left Rhubi covered as there’s still a possibility of snow but she seems to be doing ok.
Michelle sent me this photo taken from her plot in August 2017 – about 6 months before I took on my plot. I tried to take a photo from the same place and nearly managed it! Michelle wanted me to see it so I could see how much progress I’ve made. Not bad for a newbie!
This is the photo I took of the plot yesterday before we went to the football next to the first photo of the plot from a year ago. Really looking forward to another year growing even more veg but no more rubble please!