My Allotment: What I've Learned This Year

This question was posed recently over at UK Veg Gardeners and I realised I've learnt quite a bit over the past few weeks, never mind this year. Possibly not the kind of things Jo had in mind though ;)

  1. Nettles bite even when dead - my legs have just gone a bit tingly again at the memory
  2. Growing your own bamboo canes isn't perhaps the wisest thing to do - especially when it decides to grow under your compost bins and out the other side. I'm growing Phyllostachys nigra by the way - a bamboo I thought wasn't that invasive
  3. Wasps attack bees - I witnessed a very aggressive chasing off of a bumble bee from the raspberry patch a couple of weeks ago
  4. The rootstock used for my Victoria plum is a thorny beast, as my head found out recently (and how come I didn't notice it had sprouted until it was nearly 8 foot high?)
  5. You'll never know what you'll find buried on a plot. I'd got used to finding dozens of bags of soot, bits of twisted metal, rotting wood, baler twine, empty plastic bottles of a dubious nature, enough carpet to cover the entire plot and loads of gaffer tape, but suitcases????
  6. Who needs a diet or gym membership, when there's major allotment clearing to do? I certainly didn't - I lost half a stone in 3 weeks and can now do a passable attempt at the atlas stones game after taking 90x50 litre bags of rubbish to the dump. But when the top picture is transformed to the one below, it's got to be worth it...

Perhaps the most important thing I've learnt is sometimes you need to nearly lose something to understand its true value. I've had notice to quit on half of my plot this year owing to various circumstances and apart from the disappointment of losing the means for us to be self-sufficient in vegetables (and almost in fruit), I felt that the heart was being ripped out of this blog. I don't always write loads about what I'm doing up at the plot, but it is where most of my ideas and musings pop into my head.
Thankfully NAH has now agreed to be a lot more helpful around the plot and our combined efforts over the past few weeks resulted in me receiving the bill for a full sized plot on Saturday. Never has a demand for money been more welcome! Perhaps I need to rename NAH to AH from now on?
The pictures are of the half of the plot we've just finished. There's still more to do, such as sieving out the hundreds of pieces of plastic bag we found at the bottom of the plot and deciding what to do with the two large new beds we've made. More on that to come...


  1. i'm glad you got your allotment straightened out. oof! that's a lot of trash. the result is wonderful though. if NAH is now AH, does this imply a difference in what you'll be growing?

  2. Congrats on the hard work and well done in particular to the newly promoted AH.

  3. Were there bodies in the cases?

    You seem unfortunate in the rulers of your plot site. Fusspots shouldn't be in power. Glad it's worked out. (And it looks very elegant.) Hope you don't get put through this worry again.


  4. Delighted that you have staved off unpalatable consequences. It's looking great. Think that I have found most of the items you mentioned including the disintegrated plastic bag on my plot but have never unearthed a suitcase - how intriguing. Look forward to hearing more about future developments.

  5. You could use the suitcases as seed plots!

  6. In my humble opinion, non-invasive bamboo is as much of a misnomer as a pain-free bikini wax...

  7. Great news about the plot, I'm looking forward to many years of blogging from you. Will the newly promoted AH be posting too?

  8. 1: with you on that one, I just managed to whack myself across the eye with a 'dead' nettle - eyelid still twitching hours later

    2: Why oh why oh why (I should cc this to Points of View) does nobody ever listen to me about bamboo? My BUM (Bamboo Uprooting Movement) appears to have had absolutely no effect. Must revive it pronto and get more militant.

    4: I fear for your Victoria plum. Thorny rootstock? They're usually on quince rootstocks aren't they?

    5: Suitcases... I like Angie's suggestion. I once found an entire lighting system, complete with neon bulbs, wiring and fittings, buried in my garden.

    6: You have done a fantastic job and I think AH as we should call him now deserves to bake you a cake. He can have several slices himself of course now ;D

    Well done for clinging onto your allotment site - too many people are letting them go literally and metaphorically, and I take my hat off to you for pulling out the stops. You go girl!

  9. Petoskystone - now the work truly starts as it's autumn digging time

    Lu - thanks

    Esther - fortunately not but it does seem like a Miss Marple type of mystery doesn't it?

    Anna - a post is in the pipeline. Plans and dreams have changed already :)

    Angie - I could, if I hadn't taken them to the dump!

    LGF - you have a point there

    Amy - thank you. NAH/AH is staying firmly in the real world for now ;)

    CG - I was thinking of your bamboo campaign when I wrote that bit!


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