Wednesday, 23 April 2008

& so, the Allotment

We have had the allotment now for three years. My sister and I are the main gardeners but my parents also join in. Husbands and kids also join us from time to time.

The first year was excellent. I couldt use the garden at home because of the building work, so everything that we could grow we did. We had more tomatoes that we could imagine, chillies were amazing, runner beans by the bucket load. Everything just grew and grew and grew. Second year we started early with preparation. Really looked after the ground and everything started off well. We bought some fruit trees to provide us with eating apples, cooking apples and pears, we transferred the blackcurrants and gooseberries bushes form the garden. We gardened organically & everything tasted amazing.

The potatoes were the first things to fail. They died back really early and when we dug them up there was nothing there. Then the tomatoes started to look a bit grim at one end of the bed, within days the whole bed was turning black and the fruits rotting on the vine. The various fruits were inter planted and planted quite tightly, as is normal with organics. This made it really easy for the blight to run through the whole patch. The only things still standing after a couple of weeks were the fruit trees and some broccoli plants. Fortunately the garlic and onions were already out of the ground by then.

This winter was especially wet and we couldn't walk on the allotment. There is only about 8 inches of soil and then it is solid clay down as far as you care to dig. It isn't particularly easy ground to manage but it is that difficult really either, except for the endless dung weeds growing at a mile per minute.

Work commitments have meant that I am coming home at 6.30pm instead of 4.30pm. Until recently that meant it was dark before I got here. My sister runs a busy business from home and is often working at weekend to keeping invoicing etc up together. It was time for us to consider the future of allotment 43.

Last Saturday evening we discussed our plans. My dad told us to go up to the allotment before today and take a good look around, decide what we wanted to do. He was happy to work but didn't want to be wasting his time if we were moving on. By this evening neither of us had had time to visit so it became plain that we didn't have the time to work it properly. If it was established garden land which didn't need so much looking after and so much weed management then we would have continued. My sister has a nice little vegetable up at the house which doesn't have the clay problem or the weed problem and its easy to manage. I grow all sorts in out little garden but again I just don't have the problems here that we inherited at hte allotment. We have decided that we will clear our tools & move the fruit trees and bushes (again) and concentrate on our little gardens instead. One day when retirement is approaching, or if I have the opportunity to go part time at any point, then I will apply to go back onto the waiting list but for now I think the allotment isnt part of our life any more.

I will really miss the fun of working with my family. We really had some laughs as well as good vegetables.

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