Archive for September, 2007

Allotment clearing

It’s the end of the season.  Almost.  It pretty much is for us as everything is either dead or dying and we’re looking forward to next year.  Hurrah.

Twenty minutes into the hand scything I realised it was a lost cause.  Sweating profusely I went into the nearest garden shop to buy a petrol strimmer.  £150 for the cheapest ‘oooh you don’t want that sir, it’ll break immediately’.  Hmmm…

So today I hired a nice big strimmer from mark1hire (must be more environmentally friendly to share) and set about our much neglected allotment with vengeance.  After a tank of petrol I’d cleared the whole site and had a fairly large pile of debris behind me which will become in time some decent compost or so I hope. I burnt a good measure to provide me with some ash for the heap.

What amazes me is the number of small hopefully slug unfriendly creatures we now have living on the allotment.  All my neighbours have ridiculously neat allotments covered in produce and no sign of pests.  The main reason must be chemicals.  That and I think they snigger as they toss them onto my plot.  Seriously though, did anyone know slugs can grow a foot long and arm wrestle a man to the ground? No? Oh.

Our allotment is literally teeming with small lizards (which I’ve never seen in my life except this year in tenerife where the place was infested with them, and no I didn’t bring them back with me…).  I’ve also found frogs have found my pond.  Actually I first found two or three huge drowned slugs with heads sucked off.  Then I noticed the frogs – at least they’re doing their jobs, so next year I must make the pond bigger for the wonderful amphibians.

So ok, I’ve not had the best year in allotmenteering, but at least where my plot was an empty desolate patch, it is now covered in wildlife, the odd useful plant, less couch grass and has potential for next!

And if anyone is interested, whilst clearing the site I fell down a bit of uneven ground and twisted my ankle quite badly but still worked through the day and be damned with the consequences.

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When I first took over my allotment last november I had a half plot rectangle of couch grass and mares tail.  It took a lot of motivation to be out there early december/jan putting up my boxes and filling them with manure – I wasn’t even sure it’d work though there had been plenty of people trying it and disappearing shortly after.

We dug over two small beds which have all in all not been particularly productive.  We’ve also had three manure beds doing, well, pretty much nothing (except a buckets worth of potatoes).  The 50/50 manure/earth bed has had more success with 24 strong sweetcorn plants each providing a cob of sizeable proportions.
My girlfriend on the other hand has been kept in salad for the entirety of the summer – which has been fairly annoying as I rarely saw any.  Only at one point did I break down during the summer months telling my girlfriend what do with the courgette she was cooking.  Yes, any idiot can grow them, as long as you can outsmart the slugs.


Sweetcorn, Strawberries, potatos (a sort of success, though not as good as it could have been), courgettes, mini-cucumbers, beans, mange tout, chard, lettuce, mint, rhubarb, cabbage, leeks.


Potatoes, onions (all mini), asparagus (didn’t see it at all), cucumbers (slugged to death), melons (slugs), carrots (carrot fly), butternut squash, basil (boy did we kill that repeatedly), chillies, peppers, ohdeargodthisissodepressing…

So, roll on 2008 and eight and see how we do then.

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