The allotment

Those who have visited us in Penylan will note that we have a very lovely, but very modest garden. Said garden has now been substantially taken over with dog and baby play things.

I am not the most green-fingered, but I’ve always liked a bit of (relatively low-maintenance) gardening. I also have a nostalgic desire to grow things that we can eat, like we did as children. Firm favourites from a young age were chips and roasties made from our own potatoes, apple and blackberry pie, and rhubarb anything. As a child I was even on BBC Radio 4’s Gardener’s Question Time asking about carrots. I never mastered carrots.

With this in mind, I put our names down for an allotment. Waiting lists can be big, so imagine my surprise when I was offered one within three months of being on the list at Colchester Avenue Allotments. 

I was shown around by a member of the committee and offered a great plot. 1B, near the pedestrian entrance, with a small potting shed, fairly flat, part in shade and part in sun. It was late March. I signed up, paid the rent for the year (£60) and got my keys.

The plot is apparently 5 perch. But even my imperial raised dad couldn’t quite work that out. According to Google a perch is 5 yards. But I’m not quite certain is that is 5 yards in length or squared. Essentially, it is a fairly decent size plot.

There were a lot more weeds than I initially thought. Which I, Jim and my mum have battled at various points.

This year we’re focusing on clearing and seeing what can grow, before creating some raised beds for veggies next season.

We’ve planted four fruit trees (plum, apple and pear). These seem to be thriving. Planted some strawberries, which also seem to be doing well – though their neighbouring pansies became slug breakfast pretty quickly.

A heat wave killed my blackberries and tayberries and helped the weeds go insane. especially the field bind weed (yikes). The raspberries are very happy though and the gooseberries are holding on in there.

I have some lovely cut-flower seeds from the confetti fields  I’d like to sew in a flower bed when the time is right. I also have some heritage carrot seeds – which I’m hoping to grown and harvest for next year’s reenactment season.

Potatoes and rhubarb are also on the cards. I’m currently investigating cold frames and green houses. I don’t suppose I need a big one? Maybe there’ll be a second hand one come up, or one in the sale soon?  Recommendations greatly appreciated!