Hello everyone, and welcome to my new allotment spot (or should that be plot?).
I became the proud tenant of a full-sized allotment at the start of November, on which I’m hoping to increase my growing of medicinal herbs and also some vegetables. As my husband Jim has the adjoining allotment, our table should be groaning with good organically grown produce by next year!
How our allotments came about
The tale of our allotments goes back almost two years, since we moved into our house near Cheswardine, just south of Market Drayton.
As we’ve been keen gardeners for years and at our last two homes had big plots of land to grow stuff on, we asked about allotments as soon as we moved here. We were already members of the local gardening club which we’d helped to start up and soon had several other people interested. We learned that if 6 or more people in a district ask for allotments, the local council (in this case the Parish Council) has a legal obligation to provide it – even allowing them to make a compulsory purchase if necessary! We had 12 on our list so we easily qualified.
Over the next year we became aware that the local church owned a field quite near to us which they rented out, the lease of which was due for renewal. We crossed our fingers hard and in due course they offered it to the Parish Council for the allotments. The negotiations seemed to take ages and the growing season came to an end with no agreement in sight. October however produced a flurry of activity and we paid our first year’s rent at the beginning of November.
Our ‘grand opening’
On November 4th we had a ‘grand opening’ with a local retired headmaster, Bernard Lazarus, turning the first sod and officially opening the site. Bernard has always been a keen supporter of local community ventures; he was involved in starting the garden club and gave us lots of advice on how to get our first annual produce show off the ground – we’ve had three now and are looking forward to growing lots more produce for the 2012 show.
Sharing our experiences
Over the next months I’m hoping to share my experiences of getting an allotment going from scratch. You might be thinking of growing your own vegetables, or even have an allotment yourself – please feel free to comment or ask questions. I’m hoping to link up with Amber’s blog too as I get some food crops coming through, so keep an eye on what’s happening for some yummy recipes, and watch my herb of the month blog for the medicinal herbs.
Starting to dig
At the moment it looks a bit daunting – a full allotment is 90 foot by 30, which is a lot of digging! By marking it out and doing a bit each day I’m free it doesn’t seem so bad and it’s really good exercise – I feel fitter already.
Some of the other allotmenteers have had a local farmer plough the land first to make it easier for them and there’s also someone with a big rotovator who’s offered to come and help. We’ve had several offers of well-rotted horse manure, all of which we’ve taken up and we’ve been given a large container to keep our equipment in. It’s proving to be a really good way to get to know other people and already it feels like a real community spirit is developing, with people stopping to chat when they see any of us working on the field.
Watch this space!