Back on my Allotment

This afternoon the sky was electric blue for a while, really wonderful so headed off to the allotment. Luckily I’ve a good memory so remembered the way, it’s been that long.

When I got on the site I was on my own, which suits me fine. Although I enjoy chatting with the other plotholders, being alone on the site is quite magical.

The first thing I noticed was the chilli peppers in the small greenhouse on plot 29. It’s amazing really, chilli peppers happily ripening away in the small greenhouse like it’s mid-October, not the middle of November.

The silly thing is that we have more chilli peppers than we know what to do with but I haven’t the heart to dump them. I gave them a drink and left the door open to air the house while I was onsite.

My leeks on plot 29 are looking well, still. We’ve had a few already, some in a stew and some in a leek and potato pie, which was made with my Sarpo potatoes. One of the growers at the NVS on Tuesday said he didn’t like the taste of them but we do. They work really well in dishes where some potatoes go mushy. That’s the joy of growing your own, we don’t just eat potatoes, we eat Sarpo or King Edward or Anya, whatever we like.

I noticed the top path has had a load of stone chippings put down, looks rather smart but, since I moved my compost pile, opening the road past plot 5 back up to traffic the drive-thru growers have been saved the long walk from the car park and can lean out of the windows with long handled hoes to tend their plots.

The fact that each time they do so they make the path worse just seems to slip past them. Those of us who occasionally like to drive with a load to the plot but don’t have 4x4s don’t count, of course.

I went down to the bottom of plot 5 and carried on emptying the compost bins. The centre pallet has rotted to bits but the backs and sides are in reasonable shape, although I doubt they’ll last another season.

The plan is to put one half of the old shed roof inside at the back and cut the other half into two pieces to go inside the existing sides. The shed roof was treated originally and I’ve creosoted it, so it should last a few years. Being solid sides these will provide better insulation as well. Warmer heaps rot faster.

The other benefit I’m hoping for is to stop the bindweed and nettles creeping in from beyond the back fence, stealing the nutrients from my compost heap.

It’s amazing how the soil level has changed since I built the heaps back in 2003. I think the path in front of the heap is at least six inches higher with all the wood chippings that have rotted down on there.

I was looking at the plot itself and comparing it with the plot next door. When I came started our plots were the same but now my plot is a good foot higher on average. It’s all the leaves and compost I’ve added over the years. I read somewhere that French market gardeners outside Paris in the days when the horse was the delivery system added so much manure and compost their beds grew metres higher.

They leased the land and if they gave it up had to take it back to the same level as when they started. What a job!

Picture below is the compost heap nearly cleared. The rotten centre is obvious. The tube on the left has rat poison put down by  the council.

Compost Heap

Compost Heap

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary

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