After being on a waiting list for a while, we finally had a call a few weeks back about taking over an allotment plot. Honestly, we had been nervous about putting our names down, we both work full time and have a 7 year old and a 16 month old, so although we were really keen to have an allotment, we were cautious about committing to something we couldn’t make room for in our lives. The more we thought about it however, the more we agreed it would be worth finding time for, and we hope if we are smart about what we plant, then we can make it work for us, as more and more the garden was being taken over by vegetables. We also like to grow organically, and it is difficult to net areas of the garden and have a big enough compost area at our home garden.
Our new plot is 19b on the Temple Street Allotments, West Bromwich. It is nestled between two green hills and the site looks over fields were horses graze. It sounds very idyllic and it is, but this is a suburban allotment after all and you can hear the distant motorway quite clearly! The plot itself is a half plot and is on a gentle slope. The previous owner held the plot for years but it had become too much for him when his wife became ill and subsequently it is now an overgrown jungle….We have contemplated all the different ways to clear the land, and being keen for the site to be organic we have favored a dig it out manually bit by bit method. We then plan to build raised beds and adopt the ‘no dig’ method. The site already had some scaffold poles for growing beans and a long compost bin, that is fully lined. Should the bottom be taken out of this to allow the worms to do their magic? Should we cover the compost heap with carpet? any advice welcome!
The kids really enjoyed the first few visits to the plot. They happily dug in the earth, and we were lucky enough to come across two frogs in the long grass as we began to clear it….we have decided we are going to have a small pond on the allotment site to give the frogs a place to be, do frogs eat slugs? I hope so.Everyone seems very friendly and keen to lend us a hand (it must be obvious we don’t really know what we are doing!) Plans for the next few weeks include, clear some land, clear the weeds and get some raised beds built. We have made a commitment to ourselves that we will use as much reclaimed materials as possible, so first thing first is trying to source what we need. It is also a real problem at the moment that we have nowehere to keep our tools so a shed must be constructed at some point. In the meantime I will leave you with these beautiful Foxgloves, the prettiest thing on 19b so far….