Tuesday, August 23, 2005

In the beginning - the wilderness

Two years ago at 7am in the morning, whilst walking around the village, I passed the entrance to the pig farm which I knew led to the allotments.
It was a dismal damp day in August, and the plot I hoped to take over, was sadly neglected. The weeds were as high as my shoulder, the site littered with dozens of carpets through which more weeds were sprouting, and it looked a hopeless project. My husband said that I was mad to even consider taking it on – a challenge that I could hardly resist after such a comment!

It was with excitement and trepidation that on the evening of the 6th August 2003, I set to tame this plot which is 33 feet wide and 330 feet long. I spent ten minutes reading the instruction book that came with the petrol strimmer that I had bought for the purpose an hour earlier, and there started my journey that was to become a passion.

Guess what I discovered behind these elder trees – an old pig hut no less!

Over the next few weeks, I managed to clear a couple of raised beds and sow my first crops. Not much to look at, but it was a start! The plastic milk containers were to keep the rabbits and pigeons from eating the seedling, and the carrier bags were additional bird scarers - both of which worked.

Six weeks later my first attempts had turned into this! Having no water up the allotments and suffering a drought at the time, I used to visit every night with plastic bottles full of water - crazy or what?

Growing just a small crop at the end of the growing season filled me with enormous pride. Like most things, when you look back at your first efforts you tend to cringe with embarrssment, but we all have to start somewhere. I guess that is why I am sharing these beginnings, triumphs and failures with you. Just so that you can see not all allotments are council owned with lovely settings, concrete paths, water, compost, wood bark etc. You can still get by with a lump of land in a scruffy field and derive a lot of pleasure from it!

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