So, the title should be changed – I will no longer live vicariously but live naturally (or whatever is the opposite to vicarious). My friend said that she will enquire about sharing the allotment together so that we can both have equal access (at the moment there is only one key). There is apparently one other plot that has a formal sharing status but I said there would be no point in dividing the plot down the middle if we were just going to share produce anyway.
And with no further ado photos! (a lot of photos)
First the tour and then the questions:
This is looking north – the sun rises on the right hand side and luckily there is nothing in the way of the sunshine until very late in the day; perfect position for a plot. Raspberries at the back with a practically empty compost bin. The raspberries are over run with bindweed and other various weedy undergrowth; today I removed all the weeds and the old canes and tomorrow I will tie up the fruiting canes to make it a little neater. I’m thinking of espalier-ing some tree along the wall with all the heat that it must absorb. (Trees are not really encouraged on the plot as the shade other people’s land)
I did not get around to measuring today but the plot is just this wide – a little out of shot the plot ends where the shelving is and then the other border is the next to the rhubarb and raspberries. Where I am standing to take the photo is about half way down the length of the plot.
This is the south side with the trees and the gate to get in; half the plot is taken up by the myrtle on the left hand side(to the boundary). Since, neither of us would ever use myrtle berries (for anything ever) we made the executive decision to cut it down. It was at least five square feet so that is a lot of land we could use for planting things. Underneath we found some box hedge hiding – probably will transplant them to window boxes.
Just a close up of the trees from the path; actually what you can’t see is the fence, which we thought was covered in a climbing rose but on closer inspection I looked at the leaves which looks suspiciously raspberry shaped. We do have a climbing rose but intertwined; even bigger than that taking up most of the fence is what I think is a blackberry. The canes are so thick and covered in thorns (over half an inch thick) and it has all old shrivelled fruit on it from last year; it must be a very old plant.
There is a lavender hidden next to this double picture – double because the rosemary is so big I could not fit it in one photo. It is more than metre wide (3ft – I’m not very consistent with my units). Next to it are a bunch of weeds we will remove – the blue flowers are very pretty but a weed nonetheless.
Potatoes; potatoes etc; they are growing up like weeds – I took the top photo because I thought it was all pebbles and was going to clear it – nope, it is potatoes. They are everywhere, I am convinced that the previous owner must have really loved potatoes or just got a job lot and filled the whole patch with them. I found them even under the currant trees like easter eggs.
I mostly found the purple ones (I think they might be purple majesty) and then also quite a few large desiree and fingerling or anya (not sure). I know people say you shouldn’t use last year’s potatoes because of blight etc but we did keep the biggest, nicest looking ones for planting in bags. I filled all the bags with soil for planting today and I could not get one shovel full that had no potatoes in it. I had to pick out all the potatoes in order to use the soil for potato bags; I am sure we will be finding potatoes for years to come.
The soil is very loose and there is no clay or rubble in sight but I found out today it is very hydrophobic so I will still add manure compost to help it along and as we only have a water-butt, add straw on top of the beds – we have found a few worms but I think the soil is so dry they are not hanging about.
But we do have snails – yes, that container is holding only snails (old 500g strawberry punnet) I collected two of these and still didn’t get all of them. My friend asked me if it was the same as escargot, I said yes sort of, but they won’t be particularly clean (needless to say, she declined taking them home)
These are some of the neighbours with nice plots (I think all plots are around the same size); it was nice to walk around and see what was growing well and had overwintered here, although I am not sure which had fleece or not. I don’t remember if anything was covered when I walked past a couple of months ago. I saw Swiss chard in large patches so that seems to do well overwinter and cabbages plus blueberries and quite a few other bits and pieces giving me ideas for autumn and winter. Below was the thing that caught my eye
These are in our direct neighbour’s plot and I will have to ask her/him what variety they are, if not for me then for Ali (The Mindful Gardener). I definitely will be taking advantage of the space and planting out many a bulb this autumn.
Communal items; massive compost area, not sure whose job is to turn them or if we have free rein – might not have to order any but every kind of weed is in there so could be full of weed seeds. I know because we just dumped all our weeds from the massive clearing in the far end.
Water-butt, just dip your watering can in there – there are a number of hoses lying around but I am not certain how people are using them; more investigation is needed (especially because we are furthest from the butt)
Communal tables and shed full of all kinds of tools – I haven’t fully checked out which tools but we have taken advantage of large forks and shovels so far plus watering cans.
Screaming two foot high sculpture because why not (this is also next to communal herb beds and sundries)
Ok, quite long post but question time: (some are just confirmations hopefully)
I think this is an apple tree (it has the same large flowers as my granny smith)
We have two very large (what I guess) currant bushes almost trees; is there any way to tell whether it is black or red before the fruit ripen (patience is not my virtue)
What is this? It seems around a foot tall and there are several self seeded replicate dotted around the place – some of the other plots have them too.
What is this one? It is an offshoot of the tiny trunk that either died or was loped down; I thought it was cherry but the flowers and peduncle are much smaller than my cherry tree at home.
Does anyone know what this is? The trunk is obviously dead but there are suckers/shoots coming off it and I don’t know whether we should keep it. I thought it might be a bay tree but it looks very pale and burnt so I can’t tell (I guess I should smell the leaves).
This is a very far away picture to ask you to identify but I thought it might be a plum, although, I haven’t seen plums grow flowers in larger clumps like this but maybe I haven’t seen such old trees.
So that is the end so far, more pictures to come as we clean up and plant things out.
I will still write about my garden as well – the beauty is that my garden is sheltered so I can start earlier and the allotment has more autumn sun so grows into winter -my growing season just got extra long.
Whoa, that was a lot of words, even for me; thanks for reading to the end and I would love to hear any questions, comments, answers or suggestions you have for the new plot.
Part one can be found here Living vicariously!