Seen at the Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Goodbye Plot 14A...

I'm sorry to see my plot 14A sign go, but secretly pleased with its punk-style replacement

... Hello Plot 25!

Were you fooled, even for a little bit? No, I've not lost or given up the plot - we were given new numbers just after we paid our fees last year. Going from Plot 14A to 25, shows you just how many full-size plots were divided up to meet the town's demand for allotments.

This approach, plus 2012's poor weather brought Chippenham's waiting list down substantially. However, I see over 40 new people were added to the list before the end of June 2013, showing demand is still strong here in Wiltshire.

A new number isn't the only change on our site. The grassy slope where Threadspider and I used to have our coffee and biscuits is no more. I was surprised to find a man and his digger opposite my plot one day late last year.

He's levelled the slope and added hard core to expand the parking available. I'm eyeing up the mound he's left behind at the back and contemplating using some of the wildflower seed mats I've been given to trial on there.

Have you had any changes made to your plot recently? Or perhaps you have your own special plans to do things differently this year?

14 comments:

  1. When people vacate the older big plots at our site, they are often divided into two. When I got mine, I was given only half of the original plot. I happened to mention to some allotmenteers that it was such a shame I didn't get the whole plot, especially as the other half had a lot of mature fruit, which a newcomer would probably rip out to have room for vegetables. And miraculously the Lady with the Clipboard rang me and offered me the other half as well. Someone put in a good word for me, I was very lucky. Other than that there aren't many changes, although people are very good at maintaining the site. The stone wall around the outside is rebuilt in places, and the paths are re-done when they collapse sideways into the plots. There's a big waiting list for your site, but it's good to know that growing your own is still popular. Did they divide the plots when they were vacated, or did they take half away from existing plotholders?

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    1. It sounds like you fell on your feet plot-wise CJ!

      They did both - plots were divided when given up or if plot holders fell short of standards at inspection time. I battled to keep my other half of the plot for a number of years as I regularly fell short of what was required. However, I realised one day that caring responsibilities away from home were not going to go away in the short to mid term, so my optimistic reassurances I would be able to look after a full size plot weren't going to happen. So I gave up half of my plot and I'm pleased to say I have a great new neighbour. She's a Ghurkha army life and it's so interesting to see a different way of cultivating vegetables - she models hers on her village's system in Nepal. I've also found my half plot is more productive than my whole one as I now have time to look after it properly.

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  2. Apart from waiting to replace the broken panes of glass from the storm recently . The greenhouse is slowly starting to fill up with new seeds still working out what we going to grow but hopefully lot of things in small amounts

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    1. Sorry to hear about your storm damage Linda :(

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  3. We've got lots of plans for our 2 plots this year, one of which is to make some paths to stop us from slipping about when the soil is muddy

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    1. Funny you should say that Margaret - the pre car park grass bank was v slippery in the winter. I once slipped and my shoe fell off and landed on my muck heap!

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  4. I've just had my plot number had my plot number changed from 45 to 44 so all change here too!

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    1. Hi Liz - I'm intrigued by your number going downwards...

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  5. So glad you have still got your plot, it would be awful having to move to another plot after you had been improving the soil over a number of years.

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    1. Indeed Pauline. The talk this week of the value of ancient woodland reminded me of how precarious many of our allotment sites are. You're supposed to be given a new site, but they're usually so much poorer because of all the years of cultivation. Off-setting woodland won't work because it has also been managed for such a long period of time.

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  6. Was rather concerned there VP but only for a minute :) I wonder if waiting lists will grow further when 'The Great Allotment Challenge" comes to our screen. No changes to my plot as far as I'm aware - too wet to venture down at the moment. Our allotment association is hoping to bid for further grants this year to improve a woodland area, improve access roads and to enable outside groups to use some of the facilities.

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    1. I wonder Anna. Your association sounds great - good to hear of a site being 'invested' in for the future :)

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  7. I think our waiting list is falling off now - we also have uncared for plots so maybe our bubble is bursting. Some are given a plot and soon realise this alotment lark isn't as easy as they thought

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    1. Our waiting list was around 130 at one point. Sarah Cundy from Wiltshire Food Champions told me Wiltshire's waiting lists were almost wiped out after the summer of 2012. Looks like we have quite a few tempted to have a go again. How many will stick at it remains to be seen...

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