Expanding My Empire

Allotments 20E & 20CI have been very lucky this year. I got the key to my first plot in April. By July I was absolutely hooked and every spare inch was under cultivation. The plot next to me had been through a succession of holders, each one coming and spending a day there before abandoning it for weeks and finally giving up. The last attempt had been by a guy in June who came, rotovated half the plot and then was never seen again. Happily, I’d seen this coming and had put my name down back in May to take over should the plot holder fail once more. And in August my patience was rewarded. The plot next door was mine! Unfortunately, so were over three months worth of weeds up to my shoulders and all going to seed…

Allotment 20C weed control
The trusty black weed suppressant was deployed. I simply didn’t have the time or the tools to tackle it all head on so I figured my best bet was to cover it all over and wait. 

Allotment 20C weed suppressant
Waiting for the taller stuff to break down took a few weeks and I went around the edges pulling out grass and such so it couldn’t spread across to my first plot. I took down the boundary fence in the middle and started to integrate the two plots. 

Allotment 20C weeds
It actually didn’t take too long for things to start dying back nicely. The ground was still very uneven but to level it would have meant having to dig through all those weeds and I still didn’t have the time or the energy. Back over the weed fabric went. 

Allotment 20C covered
My next stroke of luck came when a house at the end of my road was being gutted. A skip full of bricks there for the taking! I hauled 6 car loads of bricks, springs protesting over every speed bump, down to the plot and started marking out key hole beds in the same pattern as I had on the first half of my plot. 

Allotment 20C keyhole raised beds
Many many barrows of wood chippings also got carted onto the plot to lay down a central path between the two plots and a bigger work space at the end. After that I was rather exhausted so sat back and waited for time to do its work and for the remaining weeds to die off. I was also lucky enough to score a greenhouse from a fellow allotment holder who was giving up his plot and by dint of the usual trading of favours between plot holders got it moved across to mine fairly easily. 

Allotment 20C ground cleared
 By now only the docks were surviving and ten tonnes of manure had been delivered to the car park, free for the taking. I’m embracing a no dig approach on my plot as all the research seems to conclude it really is a better way to garden. So 14 barrows full of muck were duly carted in and spread thickly over the new beds.  (Thanks, Mum!)

Allotment 20C muck spread
Then the trusty weed suppressant was folded back over the top and there it will all sit happily until spring when I will cut away the fabric and, hopefully, reveal lovely beds ready to grow! This has been one of the major jobs to get this half of the plot up and running and I’ve tried to strike a hapy medium between the necessary back breaking work and sitting back to let time do its work for me. Fingers crossed it’ll all pay off come the new growing season because I’ve got big plans for my little empire next year!

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