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  • Penellype's Allotment

    I thought I would start at the beginning, and hopefully catalogue the progress I make (assuming I have the time). I suspect some people were wondering how long it would take me to do this!

    In 2012 I decided to investigate the possibility of an allotment, as a lot of my garden was paved. I was told that there was a long waiting list, and I decided not to pursue the idea. Later that year the pergola that was above the existing patio became unsafe and I had it taken down. At the same time I had the patio taken up and converted into a vegetable garden, separated from the flower garden by trellis and an archway. No need for an allotment, I thought.

    By January 2014 I had somewhat expanded my vegetable growing, and went back to the allotment idea. This time I put my name down, but was told there was a long waiting list. A couple of months later my friend broke her leg badly and gave me her vegetable garden and greenhouse to look after and use. I thought of taking my name off the allotment list, especially as my friend had a 2nd accident in 2016 and was again unable to do much gardening for another year. She shows no sign of wanting her veg plot and greenhouse back.

    On Friday afternoon, taking me completely by surprise, there was a knock at the door and a man from the parish council offered me an allotment. At the time I was busy doing something and my first response was "I don't know". I really had absolutely no idea whether I wanted it or not, although I was certainly more interested when I realized which one it was - the one nearest to my house and with the big green mesh tunnel. The man only works on Mondays and Tuesdays, and he is not going to be in his office until 2nd January, so he said think about it over Christmas and let him know.

    This is absolutely typical of me. I rarely commit myself to anything immediately as I like to think about things rather than jump in on the spur of the moment. However once I have made a decision i like to get on with it.

    I walked down to the allotment (takes about 5 minutes) and had a look. The plot has clearly been looked after as most of it looks as though most of it has been dug within the last year or so. There are plenty of weeds but it isn't a thicket of brambles or wall to wall grass. The mesh tunnel is probably something like 6-8ft wide and maybe 15ft long although it is hard to tell from the road. There is a small shed, a water butt and 2 compost bins. The plot is surrounded on 3 sides by hedges - hawthorn (I think) on the roadside (north) and tall leylandii to the south and west. I'm pretty sure the council cut the roadside hedge as I've seen it being done, but by the look of the leylandii it could well be the plot holder's responsibility to cut it - I will need to ask. I know from previous enquiries that there is no electricity or running water.

    By the time I got back home I had decided that I really wanted it, and the more I thought about it the more certain I became. If I can't cope I can always give it up, but for 30 for a year (and the previous plot holder would like something for the mesh tunnel, which is fair enough) I think I would be mad not to take it.

    I went back down this afternoon and took some photos from the road:

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    The plot starts with the grass path beyond the wheelbarrow as there is a wire fence there:

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    The hedge side of the mesh tunnel is more neglected:

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    It is hard to see a lot of it as the roadside hedge is quite high, but you can get an idea from the photos. To me this looks an ideal area for things like compost bins, a pile of horse muck and maybe rhubarb and comfrey. I'll have to remember to leave access to the hedge for cutting.

    The tunnel itself is full of weeds. I assume the entrance is at the far end, but it is hard to see.
    A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

  • #2
    Assuming I get the allotment (I can't see myself turning it down), what am I going to use it for? I already have a vegetable garden at home and space at my friend's, so why do I need an allotment and how am I going to divide things up?

    At home - convenient, easy access, plenty of water but very short of space:
    Leafy veg such as salads and spinach that need eating straight away.
    Plants that need plenty of water such as tomatoes, potatoes, peas, carrots, cucumbers, blueberries especially if in pots.
    Plants that need special attention eg covering when frost is forecast such as strawberries, plants being hardened off.

    At my friend's - plenty of sunshine and water available, greenhouse:
    Things that like plenty of sunshine - tomatoes, courgettes, melons, sweet potatoes, beans
    Things my friend likes - potatoes, peas, beetroot, lettuce, leeks, onions, parsnips, celeriac, cabbage
    Greenhouse crops - mainly tomatoes and peppers but also very early potatoes

    At the allotment:
    Permanent plants that I would like to grow but have not had room for at home - rhubarb, gooseberries, currants and possibly other fruit, possibly asparagus. I can't grow these at my friend's as she doesn't want them.
    Relieve pressure on space in soil - some of the onions, leeks, peas and beans, courgettes, beetroot.
    Things that would be better in soil than in buckets - gooseberry, blackcurrant, swede, parsnips
    Large brassicas that need netting and are always hard to accommodate in mid summer - broccoli, calabrese, brokali, kohlrabi, kale
    Overflow potatoes and tomatoes
    Experimental crops (not sure I like them or not sure they will grow) - broad beans, cauliflowers, sweet potatoes and new varieties to try.

    I'm sure I will think of plenty more.
    A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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    • #3
      "Lady P"


      Just think of it as your own "Market Garden"
      "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit, wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad"

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      • #4
        I'm seriously excited to see what you do with this space.

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        • #5
          Nice shed and barrel. Looks like with a little work you should be up and running. Then the real work to get it as you want.
          First job is brew kit for a nice cuppa.
          I still have my Grandfathers old parrafin heater. The top comes off and you can pop a kettle on.
          Jimmy
          Expect the worst in life and you will probably have under estimated!

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          • #6
            It looks good. Lack of running water is only real drawback but you could ask previous owner how he managed, what grows well and any problems he had.
            Also, if your friend limits what you can grow at hers to some extent, you are likely better off with a patch of your own that you control completely.

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            • #7
              I found a lot of the stuff on our allotment didn’t really need watering at all once they were established (other than stuff in the greenhouse).
              If we get a really dry spell, I guess you could put a few full watering cans in a wheelbarrow and take tehm up to the plot ;-)

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              • #8
                Here's a question:
                When I got my allotment the shed came with various items inside such as small tuppaware containers to use as pots.
                Any freebies in yours?
                Jimmy
                Expect the worst in life and you will probably have under estimated!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Mark_Riga View Post
                  It looks good. Lack of running water is only real drawback but you could ask previous owner how he managed, what grows well and any problems he had.
                  Also, if your friend limits what you can grow at hers to some extent, you are likely better off with a patch of your own that you control completely.
                  There are lots of things I want to ask - its a bit frustrating to have to wait until 2nd January!

                  My friend's veg plot is part of her garden and is about 3m x 3m, on which she wants to grow veg. It wouldn't be fair of me to start filling it up with permanent rhubarb, currant and gooseberry bushes, particularly as she doesn't like eating these!
                  A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Chestnut View Post
                    I found a lot of the stuff on our allotment didn’t really need watering at all once they were established (other than stuff in the greenhouse).
                    If we get a really dry spell, I guess you could put a few full watering cans in a wheelbarrow and take tehm up to the plot ;-)
                    I have some 10l water carriers which would go in the car, and are not too heavy for me to lift. If I'm finding I have real problems I can always get myself one of these: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hitchman-40...P688KW4BRCQ8EB

                    I'm hoping that as this area is generally fairly damp, the plot is reasonably shady and I intend to mulch everything, watering won't be too bad. On the downside, the leylandii trees might suck up a lot of the water - I'll have to experiment.
                    A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Jimmy View Post
                      Here's a question:
                      When I got my allotment the shed came with various items inside such as small tuppaware containers to use as pots.
                      Any freebies in yours?
                      Jimmy
                      One of the things I can't wait to find out is what is lying about in the areas that I can't see from the road, including in the shed

                      There is something black in the right hand corner, which the spare pieces of white piping are leaning on, and I don't know what it is!
                      Last edited by Penellype; 26-12-2017, 08:35 AM.
                      A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Penellype, it looks fantastic! The water is maybe an issue. Is there a standpipe anywhere on the site? Are you able to collect water off the shed roof?

                        I'm sure you'll be able to find plenty of things to plant. Stuff that takes up a surprising amount of room - onions, garlic and root veg - would be good.

                        Cucurbits take up a huge amount of room too. So now you'll have lots of space to experiment in.

                        Hope you have lots of fun. Your friend might want to take over her patch at some point, though it's quite a nice arrangement for her and for you at the moment.

                        Best of luck and a very happy 2018.
                        Living in north-east Spain, where the sun is too hot, the rain too torrential, the hail too big, the wind too windy and the snow too deep.

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                        • #13
                          Walked past the allotment again today and tried to measure the width of it by counting my steps, which I reckon are probably around 2ft. There were 15 steps from hedge to wire fence which ties in nicely with my earlier rough estimate of 30ft.

                          The black item in the corner looks like an old shed or tool store which is open on the east side. There are some bits of stuff inside which could be stakes or canes.

                          Crops that I can see growing in nearby allotments are mostly cabbages, kale etc and leeks. I've definitely seen runner beans there in the summer.
                          Last edited by Penellype; 26-12-2017, 12:28 PM.
                          A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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                          • #14
                            You're like a caged lion, Pene, pacing up and down the bars, unable to get in, rather than out!.
                            Or as I've been, with a parcel that you can't open until a certain date, sniffing it, shaking it, feeling it, but unable to open it and see what's really inside. Hope it contains all you wish for - and more.

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                            • #15
                              I have sandy soil and get good crops from potatoes, carrots, courgettes, beans and peas without too much effort. The biggest problem is getting the seedlings (carrots, parsnips and cabbages) established if there are dry periods.

                              will be much easier now that I'm living down here.

                              Comment

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