This is our fourth weekend at the plot. Already we feel totally at home. I have been going there a few times in the week, but it was nice to have three people working there today. When we first got the site L cleared a lot of the ground, and pruned the corkscrew hazel at the front of the plot right back which immediately made it look better. Strawberries covered all the beds and when we started to get into these we discovered the four main beds at the front of the plot and a sweet flower bed facing the main path through the allotment. Obviously we'll keep a good strawberry bed going, but we don't want only strawbs!
Corkscrew hazels before pruning seem to lose their corkscrewy-ness
The paths at the front bit of the plot are made of some sort of heavy duty weed suppressant material and once we'd cleared off the strawberry runners we laid some wood chippings over them, kindly donated to the allotments by a new tenant. Today at the back we took up the carpet and black bin bags that formed the (also overgrown) paths. Whoever made them had done a really good job, but we just didn't want the carpet decaying in to the ground or the plastic breaking up, so L took it up, and N tipped more chipping down after I had placed a thick layer of cardboard down. It looked great at the end, it was so nice to see the beds taking shape through having the paths defined. I don't expect the paths to last that long but I really like the idea of incorporating them directly into the beds when they have broked down.
A path uncovered
Everyone we have met at the plot is really friendly and I have also met a new neighbour in the road directly because of the allotment- when I knocked on her door to ask if I could take away some cardboard and two packing crates she left out- she was really pleased that I could make use of them! Having the allotment has already been such a pleasure in social terms: I have been off work with ME (sometimes called chronic fatigue syndrome) for over 4 years now and I find it very isolating, so it is great to meet new people. Talking of the dreaded ME, which I don't intend to too much as it is a pain in the a*se even thinking about it, I must ensure I don't overdo it at the plot. To be honest I have got pretty good at knowing my energy limits, not overdoing it, and tyrannically directing others to do my will, but I've got to do something to control the thoughts racing through my head in the middle of the night: how to design pigeon protection without snaring birds in the netting.... what is the best mulch.... will my onions shoot up soon...... will my leeks get rust... what vaiety of sweet pea shall I go for... and how soon can I get down the plot again?! btw when I've worked out how to upload photos I will do!