A journey of 1000 miles

CaptureI think that’s my allotment more or less done, now. Probably don’t need to do any more work on it, now my blueberry plant’s sitting on it.

I JEST. There is a LOT of work ahead. I’d anticipated this, of course, but going and doing it is another matter. I joined Freecycle a couple of days ago, and there was a lady in the area wanting to give away strawberry plants. I took her up on this, of course, and they arrived on my doorstep this morning (it was really nice, she even delivered them for free! AND threw in some extra garlic chives! Gardeners seem to help each other out, which I find a bit heartwarming). This was why I decided to tackle the strawberry patch first.

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It’s only a fraction of my mad plan, but I think that’s the only way to do it, really. Even with help, I’m not going to be able to dig EVERYTHING. I’ve made a list of my plans for the next few months:

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I’ll confess to getting a little carried away at roughly point 8. Shedwise, though, I might be in luck – I got chatting to another allotmenteer today. He’s retired and therefore knows everything. He thinks I’m insane for taking on the allotment, an opinion I’m starting to sympathise with, but he said he’d ask around to see if anyone has a spare shed for me, which would be fantastic. I really want to win the approval of the elderly allotmenteering community in my area. I think I’d gain their respect by working really hard and proving that despite being ‘just a young lass’, I can do a BIT of allotmenteering. As I’ve said before, my expectations of what I can achieve even in a year’s time are pretty low.

Which is just as well, because much elbow grease is required at this stage. When I started digging today, I immediately thought ‘oh no, what hell have I wrought’. I’ve only got a spade and a fork, and I’m becoming increasingly convinced by the argument that I should just get a rotavator and be done with it. I was very lucky today because Wise Colleague Ian ‘volunteered’ to help me dig, meaning we got FAR more done than I could have foreseen.

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It looked like this until today:

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The soil’s still not ideal – this is where a rake would come in handy, and I’m slightly nervous about how the strawberry plants will react, but we’re getting there. One thing that’s hampering our efforts is the amount of broken glass hidden in the allotment. It was previously used as an allotment 15-20 years ago, and it seems as though an entire greenhouse has been broken up. Just from today, the broken glass filled an entire plastic bag, and picking the individual bits out of the soil is a job in itself. I did find some interesting things beneath all the weeds, though: a couple of cassettes. I don’t think they’d play anymore – far too much weathering – but it’d be interesting to see what on earth was on them.

Here’s the view from the strawberry patch:

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My allotment goes all the way up to that post, where the left-hand fence ends. You see the issue. I’m happy with how much we’ve managed to do today – if I keep managing to recruit people to help me out (bribing them with biscuits), I think things could be well underway even in the next month. My plan for tomorrow is to tidy up the strawberry patch and make a start on a wildflower patch, and then throughout the week, maybe dig further towards those old raised beds. If I could get even one of them going again, it’d be a good way of creating growing space fairly early on, and a way of making things look more allotment-like. The left half of the allotment – I don’t think I’m even going to touch it this year. The weeds are more stubborn and there’s more general debris – wooden pallets, mostly, but also quite a bit more glass. If I concentrate on the right-hand side for the moment, I think things will be a bit easier.

I’m pretty tired now. I gulped down a pizza in record time. I tended to the balcony garden so it didn’t feel left out. I’m feeling pretty content with the world, though. I just hope I’m still able to walk tomorrow.

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