taking back the land

The news today that the National Trust are making available a load of unused plots of land for would be gardeners is encouraging.

It seems like growing fruit and veg has never been so trendy – except perhaps for during the Second world war.  Perhaps the reason this story was so widely covered was that it is much cooler to have an old walled garden for your allotment than an bog standard council plot – but that said, I am very fond of mine.

In fact, regular readers will know that I have two allotments – one which has been completely unworked for some years, and another which was under cultivation in the last couple of years.

The bulk of my efforts (such as they are) have been focused on the latter – I’ve planted fruit trees and bushes, and got a large patch dug over with the intention of making narrow beds this spring.

I’ve also got two raised beds part built, ready for herbs and (I think) asparagus.

This year’s planting plan includes carrots, potatoes, cabbages (already in), garlic, broccoli, onions (already going too), peas, beans and sweet potatoes.

I’ve also got apples, plums and cherries in, along with blackcurrants, red currants, blue berries, gooseberries and strawberries.  And I have a large patch of brambles growing on the corner of my plot.

Since reading about the wide variety of home medicinal and cosmetic uses for british herbs, I’ve also expanded my herb gardening plans from the standard rosemary, thyme, chives etc to include things like ladies mantle, calendula and so on.

One of the first places I found to be a top notch source of herb seeds, plants and info is Jekka’s herb farm – which got a good write up in the Independent recently.

I wrote to the local paper today, trying to convince them to let me write a weekly allotment column – they have yet to reply 🙂

At the moment there’s not much to see but mud and couch grass, but I’m hoping that by the time summer rolls around it will be a pretty potager style oasis – with clumps of flowers attracting polinating insects (we’ve got a ‘solitary bee’ hive too – Kel’s Christmas present this year).  The other plot isnt quite as well planned – I think its likely to be less pretty – but who knows, right now its a blank canvas!

Grimsby must be one of the few places in the country with lots of decent allotment plots available, I think the total cost works out at less than £2.00 per week – well worth it for the peace and quiet alone!!

This week has been half term, and the kids and I managed to get some digging done a couple of afternoons, which is a bonus in this season of televised weekend rugby internationals!  The mud is still very wet, and doesnt take well to spade or fork, but I’ve found the Azada makes light work of it, which is a good thing since I had to dig a drainage trench last weekend, which would have been particularly hard going otherwise.

I do wish I had been a bit more proactive in terms of manuring the ground last year, but hey ho – what will be will be!

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