Hello all, things have been quiet on my blog for a few weeks, but I have been rather busy both in the garden and in my day job. In February I attended a ‘No Dig’ course with Charles Dowding. It was a fabulous day of food and lots of veggie talk. In group discussions it was also mentioned that it should be pretty easy in’t country to obtain an allotment plot. In fact no one could understand why I would possibly have problems finding one. Perhaps in the towns where I used to live (commuter belt Hampshire) it would be difficult as there was a higher population to plot ratio. But no, in the countryside they are in abundance…………………..
So with renewed enthusiasm for both the no dig method, and in finding an allotment plot, I set out to find one. Now not to stereotype council workers, but they posses not one brain cell among them. Parish council pointed me to district council and district council pointed me back to the parish council, despite me specifically telling them I had already tried the parish council. I was quite explicit in my emails stating that I live in a village with no allotments, could they possibly point me in the right direction to a local allotment I could try. Instead of them coming up with a list of local allotments that I could try, they just stated ‘oh your village doesn’t have any, try contacting the [insert either district or local parish council name]’. I was going around in circles!
So my next thought was to think about local larger towns that might have allotments. So on an off chance I googled, and sure enough Sherborne has several allotment sites. I contacted a nice lady there who was super helpful, but unfortunately as I am not a Sherborne resident they have to offer to residents before me. This was all fine and well when I was the only one on the waiting list………..but some mofo joined up AFTER me who was a resident, so got to skip the queue. I understand it is only fair as I am an out of towner, but when an area doesn’t have allotments I am ALWAYS going to be bottom of the list as I can’t change where I live. It’s SO frustrating. And not like I live hundreds of miles away, I am the next village across from Sherborne, or a short drive shall we put it. So I can join all the waiting lists in the world, but will always be bottom of the pile as I don’t live in the town or village the allotments are in. Maybe next year?
Anyway rant over. Back to idea number one, turn my sisters garden into a vegetable oasis! All this too-ing and fro-ing of emails has eaten into my growing time. I should have sorted my raised beds on my sisters lawn out in Feb/March so I could get the soil warmed up nicely to plant out in April. But never mind, I started assembling them over the Easter weekend. More on that another time.
On asking my sisters neighbour, who is a professional rotavator, if he had any contacts for local compost suppliers, he mentioned that he owned a small plot of land up the road which he’d be happy for me to use as a sort of allotment, his partner has one sort of half and I have the other sort of half. I did try to communicate that I am adopting a no dig plot, but him and my dad got talking and so the whole area got rotavated. So plan b. I am doing no dig on my sisters garden and traditional dig on my little plot up on my friendly neighbours land. The bulk of my veggies will grow on my sisters land, whilst any overspill can go up the road as I do so hate waste! I will show you my sisters plot another time as it is 5m by 9m so has a rather splendid crop plan I drew to scale. My raised, no dig beds aren’t quite finished and I was anxious to get my first earlies and second early potatoes in the ground. Good Friday is the traditional day to plant potatoes out – no idea why just saw it on a sign at the garden centre – and Easter was quite late this year so I feel I’m rather behind. I popped those up on the rotavated plot as I’m already late for good Friday and I can put the main crop on my no dig plot in a week or two when the beds are ready.
I also have a lot of onion sets left over as the pack I bought had loads in. I find that annoying with onion sets. You seem to be able to only buy them in bulk and I hate to throw any away. So I have some in modules already growing, ready to be transferred in the no dig garden, and thought I might as well put the left over up the road. One can never have too many onions! They are the basis to a lot of recipes from all sorts of cuisines. I bought an Onion Set Collection from Marshalls Seeds which includes 3 varieties and a free garlic and onion fertiliser. The three are an early variety called Fen Early, a red onion called Red Fen and a main crop called Rumba (which I like to think do a raunchy Latin dance). Even with filling the no dig plot with as many as I could, there were still heaps so what better than to grow more than just chuck em or give them away.
On my dig plot up the road we have some friendly chicken neighbours, a couple of ponies and *gulp* a boa constrictor in a shed. So my dream to have a couple of chooks might yet come true, we shall see how the allotment bit goes first. I’m hoping the chooks will eat all the slugs for me as well as be a source of entertainment as I just love them.
In my next post I shall show you my cropping plan for my sisters no dig area. It’s really rather a nice large space so I can get lots in. Hopefully my compost will get delivered this week so I can finish the beds and FINALLY plant out my peas from modules, they desperately need planting out as are looking a little sorry for themselves. And there is lots to be planted out, the greenhouse is groaning at the seams with plants needing planting out, and I need to modules to succession plant some bits.