It was love at first sight when I first saw the derelict allotment. Yes, it was massively overgrown. Yes it was neglected. But the potential was there. This used to be a much loved, carefully tended allotment so I was told! Looking back now, September 2015 seems a very long time ago - a lot has happened since then (but that will have to wait for a future blog post!). We've made so much progress at the allotment over the last year and a half, it's hard to imagine how the plot looked when I first took it on. In the space of one growing season, and with the help of my now husband and our parents, we've turned it from a neglected, weedy heap into a productive, easy-to-work plot.
Somewhere beneath the shoulder-height cooch grass and weeds were paths, beds and some salvageable crops. But it took quite a while to figure out exactly what we had. Part of the joy of taking on an allotment is finding out what's already there.
Upon closer inspection we found the following plants already in situ, despite the plot not being worked in over a year:
- Established rhubarb
- Radished (v.woody and gone to seed)
- Beetroot - about 7kg!
- Gooseberry bushes x 5
But, it's not just plants (and weeds) that I inherited! Nestled in the corner of the plot was a small, rickety old shed and a compost bin that looked like it needed some serious TLC. At first I thought the shed was un-salvageable as it was missing a lot of roof felt, it was damp, very wobbly and leaning over to one side. For some reason I just couldn't bring my self to knock down and replace this relic. Afterall, the allotment holders purpose is to re-use and recycle and to live more sustainably.
But, with so much weeding, digging and preparing the beds still to do, the shed had to wait to few more months to get the make over it was always meant to have!
As you can see, the previous owner left plenty of goodies behind that we put to good use. The netting was originally used as protection over the raspberry bushes but we've found plenty of ways to use this as bird protection around the plot. Our local pigeon population have a seemingly insatiable appetite!
Read on to follow my progress from weady heap to sustainable, productive allotment.
View all photos of my allotment journey right from the start on my instagram feed: @littleblueshed