Friday, July 11

Plots 1 and 2

Plot 1 was the first plot that we rented. The council had ploughed it over before we started gardening it.To be honest it was debatable as to whether this was a help or a hindrance, The soil was very rough and in parts solid clay.

What's more several years ago the water pipes needed replacing which meant a trench was dug down one edge of all our plots. The trench was about a metre/three feet wide and brought a load of subsoil up to the surface. Typically when the trench was filled the almost pure clay subsoil ended up on the surface. I was suspicious that the council had moved the good topsoil elsewhere.
Once we had the first plot sorted a little we took on our second plot. At this time the council mowed vacant plots every so often which meant at least that the weeds were not over head high. The idea was that I would look after and plant up the first plot whilst Martyn cleared the second.

The photo below shows those early days. Apologies for the quality but in the 1980's our photographic equipment wasn't what it is now and using film meant we took far fewer photographs
Now the two plots look like this:
And for those of you who enjoy this sort of thing a video lasting approximately four minutes.
If you are interested my June gardening photo diary is here I've changed the style of my diary but haven't yet got it quite right.


24 comments:

  1. A great demonstration of the results of your hard work, Sue! Where would we be without our cameras these days...? My perception is that these days Councils do the absolute minimum they can get away with, so presumably mowing vacant plots is a thing f the past.

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    1. Your perception is correct, Mark. To be fair to the department responsible allotment funding is poor - our rents just go into the main treasury coffers rather than allocated to allotment maintenance.

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  2. I cannot begin to say how much I admire what you have both achieved! Were you both working when you began to do so much vegetable gardening?
    Another thing I notice is all the grass paths which look lovely but must make for lots of mowing and edge cutting.
    The video is magical, especially with the blackbird singing as well. Thanks:)

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    1. We were both working full time when we took the fifth plot, sweffling. I also had the sort of job - teaching - where I brought a lot of work home for evenings/weekends and holidays too. Obviously time was limited and so the plots were not anything like as tidy.

      The paths take about 2 hours to cut and trim edges. In spring this is weekly bit now more like fortnightly. The edges are mainly strimmed and edged with edging shears in a rolling basis,

      The blackbird is in evdience most of the time and at the moment so are greenfinches and goldfinches which you can hear quite a bit on the video especially the greenfinch with its 'tseeeer' call.

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  3. Wow things have changed so much. Everything looks so pretty now.

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    1. It has taken time though Daphne. At one point most of the site was head high in weeds with plots hiding amongst them

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  4. Oh my Sue that is such a long time! It is still huge, I'm sure one of your beds is the size of my main vegetable garden!

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    1. It is, Jo and now I feel ancient!

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  5. I'm so impressed with what you two achieve. I am struggling with a space a fraction of the size. And I think blight may have arrived here now too :(

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    1. You have a large garden too Jessica and our area is flat and doesn't have so much wildlife eating everything

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  6. What a credit your allotments are to you both, they look so professional, absolutely stunning!xxx

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  7. Interesting! Your plot have a plentiful sunshine, that's great for your plants to grow up optimally. You have done a great job.

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    1. Not always plentiful sunshine Endah see my Facebook album here Sun is a bonus for us,

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  8. Lovely video, It looks and sounds fantastic. I have only one plot and a small back garden and as with the comment above, they don't really compare to these plots. My excuse is I'm trying for a permaculture style plot, ahem! Do you feel there's been an element of economy of scale since you've had more plots?

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    1. No economy of scale. Lou we have a high rental - £70 + per plot including a charge of £20 a year per plot for water which amounts to £20 for the three months when we use it and at the moment we are not using much at all. Martyn checked the Yorkshire water estimate of cost of usage and we would need to be carrying cans about all day to use the amount if water we pay for.

      Plot 4 gives us the most in terms of value for money as it has lots of fruit,

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    2. Hmm, Yes, ours is just over £70 but we don't have the water bill on top, as yet. The price jumped up recently almost doubling and there's talk of it increasing again.
      But What I really meant to ask was in terms of your time, have you found that for example you have 5 plots but do they take 5 times the amount of your time as it took to look after 1? I guess it depends on the type of crops e.g. Perennials vs annuals, and also now you've learnt tricks along the way like the mulch sheets? I'd agree with your comment about the fruit too, definitely makes the plot worth it financially though of course for most of us that's just a bonus...we love our plots, wildlife, fresh air etc :)

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    3. I see what you mean - I wouldn't say that five plots took 5 times the amount of time. The fruit areas don't take a lot on time other than periodic i.e pruning, general tidy with the hoe etc and picking the fruit. Really when we were working we didn't have extra time to give as we took more plots. Then it was more a case of prioritising what needed doing most and at times when we were busy harvesting fruit the weeds grew.

      The weed control fabric has helped considerably so it's a pity we didn't adopt it sooner. Then there was getting tools to help such as a rotavator and tiller instead of hand digging everything and a strimmer to edge beds and strim areas where the grass is too long for the mower. Using the hoe to tackle weeds at seedling stage help.

      As for cost I wonder if this is the reason we have vacant plots nowadays. Maybe this is a way of cutting waiting lists. You are right if the overarching reason for having an allotment is to make a profit then disappointment will follow.

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    4. Thanks Sue, interesting to hear your experiences. One day I hope to have more land so am storing up tips!
      I think in Norwich we don't have that many vacant plots anymore, aside from really overgrown ones. The council don't clear them for you so people are probably reluctant to take on.. Mind you that's how I got mine....it was really overgrown and no-one else wanted it. But they do offer half plots now, which have been popular for first timers, then if you've proved yourself and there's another half available you can apply for that too. But I would think paying £35 for a really overgrown half plot in the first year is a bit off-putting. It was only about £30 for a full plot when we got ours. Times change!

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    5. Half plots are available here too

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  9. Good grief Sue, you manage to manage (!) such a huge area! Impressive transformation.

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    1. Wait 'til you see how plot 5 started out Janet!

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  10. Wow that's a huge difference between then and now. I'm always amazed by your green paths. They look like you tend them with nail scissors...every blade of grass is the same height :D

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    1. The grass is the result of mowing and strimming weeds for a few years, Leanan. No seeding or laying of turf. No nail scissors involved and it isn;y as pristine as it looks - it includes daisies, clover, dandelions and buttercups.

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