Mud, glorious mud!

Happy as this gent looks, mud is the bane of any gardener's life. At times conditions were not too far away from this on Hill Rise allotments. For anyone with a digging desire, heavy clay and rain are an unhappy combination. The only solution is to stay well away until things dry out.

Looks like that isn't a problem I'm going to encounter on the new bowls club allotment. Surprised how easily workable the alluvial soil was, in spite of heavy early morning rain. When it did compact down, only took a light application of the spade to recover.

Managed to get strawberries planted. Installed some poles to support the Glen Ample raspberries. Still got chives and leeks to replant before giving the whole plot a good tidy.

Goodbye Hill Rise Allotments

If it wasn't for how excited I am about my new Bowls Club allotment, would be a bit sad at leaving the old plot. Invested a lot of time and effort in construction projects, much toil on the clay soil too. It's looking bit sad in the bubble image below. Allotments always look messy in autumn

Note that well trodden path. Quite a bit of the infrastructure is on the move to allotment colleagues. The polytunnel, water butts and fruit trees have already gone. The greenhouse will be next. Anything not fixed down will be put to good use. Even the shed was under consideration for a deconstruct and rebuild at one point, before the size of the task was realised.

Great news this week that son, John, has applied for an allotment in his Fen village and is talking chickens. Miss my chickens!

Allotment Heaven is on the move!

You know how it goes. Tempted by cake, the smart pick is a small slice. Middle will do. But you can't help yourself and go for the biggest.

So it's been with my allotments. Did start off with the standard size, but as soon as the opportunity arose went large, taking the adjoining plot as well. A plot that needed lots of work. Cue months and months of doing nothing but keep the weeds at bay. And when I did finally get things planted and a pond installed, still spent far too much time grass cutting.

This time last year I gave up the extra plot and reduced back down to my original allocation. Shifted the greenhouse and polytunnel. But there's still been too much of the summer spent mowing, composting and weeding. What happened to planting time? As a result there's been little produce from the plot. And the tomatoes were a disaster, struck down with blight.

So after eight years battling the clay, wind, wet and weeds on the Hill Rise allotment site, I'm off to pastures new. Well, hope it's not a pasture! Moving to a much smaller allotment plot at the bowls club. Where the soil is alluvial. Where there's no grass cutting. Where water is available by hose pipe and the plot is free. A site sheltered from the wind. Sure there'll be some negatives, but I'm danged if I can find any at present.

For 'much smaller' read eight yards by six yards. Quite a tiny plot by allotment standards. But I'm reinvigorated thinking about the challenge of how much produce can be produced from a tiny area. Half will planted with rhubarb, raspberries, strawberries and blackberries transferred from my current plot.

Can't get stuck in until I'm allocated the plot at the next bowl club committee meeting on Tuesday 28 October. After that it'll be all systems go! So pop back occasionally to see how things develop.

In the meantime, here are a few snaps from the last nine years on my current plot...

Tell me again... why did I pick this plot in January 2007?

A few weeks later.

Beginning of summer, shed under construction.

One year on, chicken coop under construction...

... and taken on the adjoining plot for good measure.

Here are the new residents.

Nothing beats your own fresh eggs for breakfast!

Really smart chickens, replying to letters from the grandchildren!

Certainly won't miss the clay soil & occasional flooding.

But the skies are something else...

...especially the sunsets.

Will miss the building projects, such as the huge polytunnel...

...and the grandsons' tree house.

Not forgetting the clay lined pond...

...that turned into something special to sit by.

Here's the new plot, below a bubble image of the site.

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