It was a very rainy day today, with booming thunder and crackling snapping lightning. So I stayed inside on a day I had hoped to start to turn over the new plots, and dreamed of what to do in the allotment.
After slicing my finger quite badly on a blackberry thorn on day one I prepared a small waterproof tub of ‘first aid’ materials – bandaids, surgical tape, after-bite and an Avon skin spray that is supposed to work as a bug repellent. So, other than a first-aid kit, what does every allotment need, according to today’s dreams and plans and scheming?
One necessity is an area for weeding, trimmings, compost. Compost heaps can be areas that in turn become cultivated, after being left fallow and richly fed with compost for a few years. This is what I like to call ‘lazy gardening’ – creating new beds by heavy mulching and softening up the soil naturally before getting in to turn over the ground with a fork.
A small woodpile from pruned cut wood as a shelter for wildlife, preferably in a semi-shaded corner. Apparently our allotment will allow burning on some schedule during only part of the year (winter months). So important to separate heavy wood cuttings from regular compost pile materials as these can be disposed by burning.
Equally important for boosting biodiversity is a having a small pile of rocks. I’ve got in the habit of collecting rocks into pots as I turn over the ground with a fork. These can then be turned out onto earthen paths to help pave them, or piled in a shady corner to encourage creepy crawlies.
The allotment does have some grass, but I’m hoping to convert all the pathways to gravel, pebbled rock or paved in some way. Bricks and broken paving will be useful. Best to get rid of the grass as otherwise you’re always trying to weed the grass from overtaking the growing beds. Gravel and paved paths also soak heat, radiating it back to the plants in cooler evenings.
Water for birds and biodiversity. Ideally in a shallow dish easy for birds to access. If you leave tubs to catch rain water make sure there is a wooden stake in there in case animals like squirrels fall in: they need an escape route out, and a metal stake won’t help them so make sure it’s wood.
Added fun extras are scare-crows. A few of the other allotment plots have funky scarecrows – like little garden installations. Might be fun to think of making one out of broken garden tools and such like. Need a funky scare-crow hat.
Great Allotment Plants
Asparagus – takes years to settle in, but may be worth it. Needs gritty sandy, well-draining soil in full sun.
Artichoke – needs full sun.
Chives & Garlic Chives (white flowering)
Calendula – edible flower
Borage – edible flower
Coriander & Dill Beds (hopefully to self-seed)
Spinach & Lettuce Beds
Pumpkin & Courgette beds