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.|