Broad beans going in

It’s Sunday, the 9th of May and it’s 3 o’clock on the dot. The clouds are just starting together and the skies gone grey again it looks as though the rain which had been promised for Sunday afternoon is on its way.

The wind is starting to slightly pick up and it’s not quite as warm as it was when I arrived at around midday today.

Today I’ve decided to start putting the seedlings in. The risk of frost looks as though it has passed finally! The weather looks as though it is starting to change, warmer I mean. And with that nice the weather means I will not have to rush down to the allotment to cover and uncover the plants that I’d put in already.

Lines of spuds and the broad beans!

Today I put in three more lines of potatoes, In between the other three lines I already had. That means the central part of the far end of my plot is now fully stocked with spuds.

Your other job was to put in a line of broad bean seedlings which had been growing out of and in the pots at home in the back garden. They went in quite easily and hopefully they are large enough to be able to fend off the large fat pigeons and family of magpies that have been storming the allotment garden recently. I’m not sure if this will work! Just before I put them in I caught a blackbird packing at the seedlings in the trays! We will have to wait-and-see.

Rest of the time I spent taking up all the weeds which seem to have sprouted up everywhere across the whole of my plot. The nice weather and the rain had given the weeds the best of times. It didn’t take long to pull out the weeds however. It’s looking a lot better now!

Last thing to do was to pick some rhubarb. And handed over to my neighbour! I’ve got plenty

Potato lines get a cover-up!

Sunday, the 25th of April 7:15 at night. Once again I’ve just finished covering up down at the allotment, getting meowed at by the garden cat, and walking back to the car on my own while the sheep are out by the main house.

Elvis relaxing in the sunshine. Rolling around in the dust!

Are a few people there tonight and I stayed for a short talk with the chairman. There might be some spots on the allotment association committee, coming up soon, but I don’t think I will be able to take any of them up. I have plenty of work to do with my own work.

Most of the covering up today was just a usual. Putting the fleece over the top of the carrots in the pots, putting a closh over the lines of carrots that were planted in the ground. And finally a new one! Covering up the potatoes with some more soil because some of them are starting to come through. Not some of them, quite a few of them!

Spud lines covered up

So today’s picture is a view of the potato lines which are on the second half of my plot! These lines needed a slight cover-up as the potato plants started to poke through. The temperature tonight will be dropping again to around -1° C as the frost risk rises again due to clear skies.

Just to be sure! Make sure everything is protected and covered up. Now, to head home and do the same for the seedlings which have been sat outside in the Sun all day. These need to be taken into the garage to protect them overnight.

Feeding Elvis and covering up the seedlings again before it goes cold

Wednesday, the 21st of April 2021 the time is 8:25 in the evening. I’ve just finished at the allotment covering up the seedlings again!

Even though it’s been another scorching beautiful sunny blue sky day, the evening and night and early morning are going to be exceptionally cold. The forecast says it will go below freezing again.

It was just another excuse to leave the house however. Go outside; feed the garden cat; have a walk around the allotment plots; listen to the birds. I’ve been inside all day working at home, locked in locked down. I welcomed the chance to get outside for a change.

The smell of garlic is in the air as I walk through the main entrance. Wild garlic has probably been cut and that’s what I can smell. The sheep and lambs are grazing on the front lawn in front of the house. And as I walk into the allotment garden area there are still a couple of people tidying up for the evening.

I give everything a good watering and as I’m about to cover up the ceilings, Elvis the garden cat appears! Lucky for you Elvis! I’ve brought some more cat treats for you!

Elvis is tucked underneath the Appletree

As I leave the allotments Elvis is tucked underneath the Appletree sitting on the bench with her tail curled up around her. The temperature is starting to drop already, but the garden cat knows where to go I think. It’s been colder than this, and she’s just been fed so she’s in a good place as I leave her walk out of the allotments to go home.

Hello Elvis

Ok. I’ve just been to cover up the seedlings again and it’s about 8:50pm and going dark. I’d not seen Elvis for a good week but she soon turned up when she heard me.

Elvis and dinner

I had some cat treats with me this time and they were perfect. Elvis has a good dinner. Tail up she wandered off afterwards.

Uncovering the seedlings and cutting the border

Sunday, the 18th of April 2021, about 1 o’clock in the afternoon and the weekend is in full swing! It’s been scorching couple of days followed by some seriously cold nights with frost in the morning. But a very good couple of days.

I haven’t done much down at the allotment apart from uncover and recover the carrot seedlings every morning and evening. Just to make sure they were protected. And it was a good job too because the weather was -1° C and frosty in the mornings, and during the days it was sunny and very warm.

I’ve just uncovered the seedlings for today and while I was there broke out the strimmer to straighten the edges of the grass around my plot. These were looking about as fluffy as my hair before it was cut last week!

Straighter borders

Now everything is looking quite neat and ready for the summer.

The seedlings at home are getting put away every evening and brought out every day. They are are in preparation for getting planted! I can’t wait until this cold snap in the mornings has blown away. Then all of my seedlings will go in and the proper growing season will be properly started.

Frost is definitely on the way

As I enter through the main gates of the main entrance and walk past the main house on the way to the allotments, the front grass and lawn is housing all of the sheep and the new lambs.

There is lots of bleating going on as I walk past the main house towards the Abbey Gardens allotments at the back.

Apart from that it’s quite quiet! I don’t see anybody else as I walk through the main grounds. As I arrive in the allotments I don’t see anybody again, until somebody calls out my name, people are still working their plots.

I did visit the allotments earlier today, to uncover my carrots and seedlings and I met a few people at that time. Some new people have taken on the centre plot and they have been getting on with it quite well. I gave them some potatoes this morning, so at least they had something to put in instead of just clearing the ground from the previous owner. It’s not much good if you don’t plant something and spend all of your time pulling out weeds and clearing grass. I know that from my own experience.

People have been getting on well. I think this will be a very very good year for the allotments. There are a lot of new people, we’ve just come out of a second lockdown so people have been locked in doors for a very long time this year already. Everything combined with the weather about to change should translate to a very good year for the Abbey Garden allotments.

Waiting for the frost to disappear

It’s Saturday, the 10th of April 2021 and it’s 7:30 in the evening. I’ve just finished covering up my seedlings again. Tonight it is going to go to -1° C, and tomorrow night it will drop to -2° C at least that is the forecast. They need to be taken care off until the last frost has it finally disappeared. There are plenty of seedlings at home just waiting to be brought down to the allotments, but until the frost risk has gone completely I can’t bring them. Hopefully next week the weather looks like it will be improving for good!

You are always on my mind

It’s Friday, the 9th of April, 2021 and it’s 8 o’clock in the evening. The Sun has just set. It’s starting to go dark now and the temperature is beginning to dip. As I’m driving over to the allotments Elvis is playing on the radio. When I get there I’m still whistling the tune.

The forecast says that tonight is going to be -2° C. That’s going to be cold. So a trip to the allotment to do some cover up and to feed the garden cat and make sure she is okay are in order. I was whistling Elvis’s tune (you are always on my mind) and as if by magic the garden cat appeared immediately.

I was prepared! I had stowed away some Iams catfood and a cat bowl. So, we walked over to the communal area and I opened the catfood into the bowl and presented it to Elvis! And immediately she took one sniff and turned her back on it.

Elvis snoot

I can’t believe it! She doesn’t like the catfood I bought her. Sorry Elvis, there’s not much I can do. So I left the bowl where it was and finished covering up my seedlings, and then before it went completely pitch black I went back to the car to go home.

She must have a nice warm place to go to because it’s been quite cold over the past few evenings, but she’s always very sprightly and appearing very quickly when she hears somebody at the allotment. I’ll check on her again tomorrow! It’s a Saturday … I’ve got time to go and see her with a different type of food.

Morning trip 5 minute visit

Monday morning, bank holiday. Just to do some uncovering. Yesterday’s onion planting is looking ok, uncovering the carrots 🥕 is as easy as pulling off the green fleece. I dropped off some spare beetroot seedlings for new plot owners and left them in the communal area then I picked up trash and waste batteries that somebody had dumped. Finally, not having any food for Elvis 🐈 . Sorry again Elvis, I keep forgetting.

Carrots in pots; Elvis; onion sets; beetroot seedlings

Elvis is ok. There will be plenty of people around the allotment today, the main entrance is open to visitors and there will be a lot today because it’s a bank holiday.

Jobs done, time to leave. But I’ll be back tonight to cover up again when the temperate drops.

Planting all the beetroot at the semi lockdown allotments

It’s Easter Sunday, the 4th of April 2021 and another fantastic sunny day. I was in bed until late, but finally getting up and making an effort to come down to the plot. The Sun was shining and the temperature was rising. What was my excuse!?

I cleared the bottom end of the plot and got it ready for the beans and peas which I have at home waiting. They are not going in just yet because of the risk of frost over the next week, but there are other plants that I can put in that should be hard enough to whether any frost and cold temperatures going below freezing.

Beetroot patch and raised beds preparation

In particular I am thinking about the beetroot. Two lots of beetroot of gone in today. Pablo and Golden are the varieties added to the bottom end on my allotment. Pablo are the usual purple beetroot colour, and the golden ones are as you would imagine, golden in colour. They have both gone into a small patch at the bottom corner of my allotment. Probably the coldest area of my allotment actually, and with the frost coming over the next few days, definitely the coldest area! Let’s see how they fair.

The rest of the plot at the bottom end was prepared. The wooden frames are usually use for lettuce et cetera, usually protecting them with slug gel on the ward, I am going to use those as small raised beds for things like beans and peas. But they will not go in just yet. I’ve just prepared the ground.

I’ve done a lot today, and I’ve nearly spent six hours down at the plot getting the ground ready. I’ve taken my time, it’s been a lovely sunny day, I had a flask of tea, there were no people around and it was quite quiet. I got on with it. I tried to get a little helper to come down and feed the garden cat, but no luck! Even with no Internet at home, I didn’t seem to be any hope of bringing her down with some cat food for Elvis. Sorry Elvis! You’re going hungry for the second day on the run. I promise to remember something for you tomorrow!

Protecting the seedlings

It’s late in the evening when I come down to the allotment to protect the seedlings. I’ve been doing this for a few days now because of the threat of frost. Late in the evening to cover up and early in the morning to remove the covers.

Green fleece and poly tunnel

I’ve used a sheet of green fleece to cover the pots and a poly tunnel to cover the lines of carrot seedlings.

Because of the frost risk the carrots are being protected. Last night there was a heavy frost, the roof of the neighbours house was white! It was a good job I covered up all the seedlings.

Planting the first lot of carrots 🥕 in semi-lockdown 🔒 allotment

Good Friday, the 2nd of April 2021, the country is slowly coming out of lockdown which we’ve been in for most of this year. Today I’m on holiday from work and it is the most beautiful sunny blue sky day we’ve seen this year!

What a day to come down to the allotment and plant all of my carrots (I’ve been planning this since last week).

I’ve been at the plot for nearly 4 hours, but it’s Sunday seem like it!

Three large tubs full of carrots, and two long lines

There are now three large tubs which are full of carrots. The soil has been filtered on top to remove the stones, and I intend to take very good care of these carrots! They are are the first carrots I will have planted (that I can remember).

On the ground next to them in two long lines are the remainder of the carrots which did not fit in the three large tubs. These ground-based carrots will be my control group. Although I will look after them in the same way, they are on the ground and I did not filter the soil to remove the stones. Both will be looked after equally, but we will see whether raising the carrots of the ground level into tubs makes any difference at all to the final crop. I am suspecting carrot fly…

A few more spuds went in, these were large baking potatoes which had been sprouting in the kitchen at home. They now have a new home in the ground at the allotment. Best place for them!

That’s it for today. I had a bit of a sit down after I’d cleared up and had a cup of tea. In the sunshine! Underneath the apple tree!

There are quite a few people around today. As expected really, it’s a bank holiday weekend and people have time and the weather is lovely. What’s the excuse for not visiting the plot on a day like this?! Surely there can’t be any?!

Most of the people weren’t really digging the plants over though, they were mostly sat around in the sunshine enjoying being outside. Who can blame them?

I picked up some of the hard plastics on the way out of the allotment. We have a recycle point now, although it seems to be more of a dumping ground at the moment. I ordered all the groups of materials into piles: metal, hard-plastics and plastic sheeting. I picked up a crate of hard plastics on the way out and I’ll stick it with the rest of the recycle things in the garage and organise a trip to the tip eventually. At least it won’t be dug out of one hole and dropped into another (land-fill) hole! The stuff will get recycled.

The weather report for the next few days says that it will go cold. Possibly snowing, maybe by Sunday or Monday. I need to call in at the garden centre on the way home to pick up some fleece material to use as a blanket on the carrots in the tubs. I already have something for the long lines, I just need to make sure the frost doesn’t come and hit them. Special care this year! I need the allotment to be a good place for 2021.

Rhubarb giveaway at the lockdown allotment

Sunday, the 28th of March 2021. The time is now 1645 in the afternoon and I’ve been at the allotment since around about 2 pm.

Today’s job was supposed to be to plant the carrots! The ones I bought yesterday and this morning from the garden centre. However I forgot to put holes in the big tubs, and so I decided that I would just bring the carrots back home and plant them next weekend.

Rhubarb giveaway

Next weekend is Easter bank holiday, so there are two days plus the weekend. Let’s hope the weather holds!

Today I planted nothing apart from some daffodils. But I did a lot of work clearing up the portion of land that was the builders yard. That is now gone and the stones and gravel that I filtered out of the soil over the past year and a half have now been used to make small area for storing things. This area is just about 1m wide and not very big, but it is enough to keep things out of the way.

I put some black sheeting down on the soil, and then edged the part of the land with some of the larger stones. Then I dropped in all the gravel that I had filtered out into bags which had been sitting around on my plot waiting to get used or taken away. I decided not to take it away to the tip, since they were my stones from my plot.

So the majority of the time today was spent with me making a small patio area! Not something I expected today, but another job ticked off my list successfully!

The tub like plan for the carrots, something to do next weekend

Today was the day I also gave away my rhubarb which I had been trying to kill for the past two years, without success. So I gave it away to some of the new plot holders who had come in today to tend to the new areas.

So! All in all, today was a good day. Things have been tidied up, rhubarb is being given away, tubs have been made ready for next weekend, planting will begin just in time for the Easter bank holiday!

Last on the list before I leave the allotments is to pick up some of the plastic sheeting that has been dumped in the recycle area. The recycle area doesn’t look very neat, so I thought I would take some with me.

Sticking in the spuds

It’s Saturday, the 27th of March 2021, and I’m putting in the first batch of today. I’ve added a line of second-earlies (Charlotte potatoes) and two lines of Désirée potatoes.

As one person put it, let’s just chuck something in the ground and see what happens! And that pretty much sums up what I’m going to do. Although I will be putting them in neat little lines, equally spaced. Then at least I’ll be able to keep track when I dig them up.

Four lines of potatoes

Apart from that, and a little bit of blood fish and bone, I’ve just popped them in under the surface and apart from covering up the Désirée type a little, that’s where they will stay until I dig them up (some time after they flowered).

Next weekend is the bank holiday Easter weekend, bank holiday Friday off work (possibly) and bank holiday Monday making a very long weekend. Preparation is underway and I can see quite a few people down at the allotments now that I have not seen since last year.

Most of the plots are getting on with it quite quickly and some of them are looking excellent already. A couple haven’t started yet, but there is still time because we’ve got a long weekend coming and nowhere to go because of lockdown! I expect to see them then!

In other news, we now have a recycling point near the entrance. Containers have been set up for things that need to go to the tip, or should go to the recycling. The plastic container that I brought back to the allotment after emptying it and recycling parts at home is in that section. It’s a really good idea because we have a problem with glass and plastics. They need to be removed from the site efficiently, and this new recycling area will do the trick perfectly!

Elvis and spuds

It’s Sunday, the 21st of March 2021, and yesterday the UK reached the 50% milestone of people being vaccinated in this country for COVID-19. I also was part of that. A record number of people were vaccinated yesterday!

Today I’ve made a trip down to the allotment to celebrate! I’ve not had any ill effects from the injection so there doesn’t seem to be any point staying inside waiting for something to turn up.

Elvis greeted me as I walked through the gate of the Abbey Gardens allotments! What a fantastic surprise to see Elvis waiting for me.

Hello Elvis! 😙

Unfortunately I didn’t have any food to give her. She hung around and kept me company for a while on the bench under the apple tree, but after a while it became apparent I had no food, she wandered off in a lonely way. She looked quite frail! So I rang home to see if they would bring chicken from the fridge.

The last of the work was to just dig up a line of spuds that had been overwintered (by accident) and then dig over the remainder of the plot, probably the last quarter. That was done! I’m finished.

After the dig…

The time is now 12:45 in the afternoon and I finished the last of the digging on the plot. The whole of the area is now dug over for the first time this year.

All I have to do now is plant something?! I’m going to start with one spud that I just dug up but has already started to sprout…

The horseradish hole is now filled!

Sunday, the 14th of March 2021, and it looks like the Abbey Gardens have missed the rain clouds today. While I was down at the allotment, it was raining back at home! But I didn’t even get a spot at the plot.

Today’s job was to fill-in the hole completely. This was done quite easily, with the riddle, the spade, the wheelbarrow and a little effort. I was finished in just over an hour. The horseradish hole has now completely disappeared.


For my next trick, I will pick up all of the hard plastics that somebody dumped in a big plastic crate underneath the organic compost heap. I will take them home, sort them out and recycle all of them. There doesn’t seem to be any point of digging them out of one hole only for me to drop them into another down at the landfill. So I will make the best effort to recycle everything.

That’s it for today. The time is now 25 minutes to 2 o’clock in the afternoon, And for the majority of the time today I was the only person down at the allotments. Just as I was packing up to new people turned up. They have taken over Martin’s old plot, as he now has decided to spend his time playing golf instead of splitting it between the golf course and the allotments! The two new people are Mark and Chloe, and they seem to be taking over Martin’s large plot quite well!

Time to drive home, and pick up something for tea tonight.

Filling in the horseradish hole

It’s my first day off work this year, Monday 8th March 2021. I’ve taken one day.

The day is quite perfect. Not too hot, not too cold, blue sky, just right for filling in the horseradish hole I dug the other day.

As I enter through the gate today Abbey Gardens I turn left and walk towards my allotment plot. On the plot next to mine, against the wall is an icy spot. An upturned compost bin lid has collected water. It is in the shade of the wall and has a thick sheet of ice on top of it. However, it’s not cold in the sun. I’m not cold. There is quite a a distinction between the shade of the wall and the bright sunshine falling on my main plot.

I collect all the things that I need together, wheelbarrow, riddle, separate bag for the stones I will be filtering, my trug for collecting the pieces of horseradish that I filter out. Then I begin .

Only angle drop now, just a small bit left to fill in

The idea today is to fill in as much the whole as possible. But before I start, I dig down a little bit further to remove the remains of the horseradish that grew out of the bottom of the plastic container. I soon see that there is too much of it, and the roots have gone down a lot deeper than I expected. So instead of digging it out I decide to put down a layer of stones on top of the remaining pieces of horseradish root that I can’t dig out. Putting down a hard-core layer on top of the horseradish, coupled with it being about 4 feet underground, I expect that will be the last I see that horseradish!

It takes about two hours of filtering out the remains of the horseradish from the piles of earth I had previously dug out, but by the end I had nearly filled in the hole.

I expect I will have one more visit, and a bit more filtering to do. But at least now there is no danger of anybody falling in the hole.

I pack up my things and go and sit on the garden bench under the apple tree. I had brought a flask of tea with me, so I sit there listening to the birds and drinking my tea for a bit. The main idea of this visit was to fill-in the hole, but also to forget about work for a while (if I could).

Goodbye horseradish! (I hope so)

It’s Sunday, the 7th of March 2021. The time is now about, well, just after 3 o’clock in the afternoon and I’ve been down at the Abbey Gardens lockdown allotment for about 2 1/2 hours. I’ve just packed up, finished sitting under the apple tree with my cup of tea and I’m about to drive home. Today’s job was to dig out the remaining parts of the horseradish plant.

Production line for the horseradish

Even though I had spent a good few hours yesterday digging out the majority and large pieces of horseradish plant, and even though I had contained it in a plastic bin, as I dug down even further there were still large pieces of horseradish root. These pieces had grown out of the bottom of the bin! It looks like they went down quite a long way.

Probably it would continue to go around 5 or 6 feet deep, but I gave up at 4 feet. I expect that even chunks of horseradish thicker than my thumb will not be able to survive underground further than 4 feet! That is my hope anyway.

I set up a production line. Two wheelbarrows with a riddler filter grid, a plastic bag for stones and rocks, and my trug for the leftover pieces of horseradish. If I did my job well, there would be no horseradish left!

As I dug out spade-fulls of soil containing the last of the horseradish, I filtered them through my riddle. The soil was pushed through the grill and the stones were filtered into a plastic bag. The tiny pieces of horseradish were hand-picked out and dropped into the trug.

As far as it’s going. No further!

Even though I had dug-down at least 3 1/2 feet yesterday and I had thought to myself the majority was done, the last half foot of soil contained a significant amount of horseradish root left over. And quite large pieces at that! It took about two hours of filtering the soil, and two wheelbarrows full of filtered soil.

When I decided enough was enough, (which coincided with me starting to have difficulty climbing out of the hole) I tipped the filtered soil out of the wheelbarrow and back into the bottom of the hole. I returned the wheelbarrows to where I’d borrowed them, then I started to pack-up.

Other people were around the allotment plots. There were some new people starting their new plot and visiting with their children; the usual crew who are always there (members of the committee); and a few other people dotted around on the far side of the allotment. It was quite quiet.

Pulling out 99% of the horseradish

Saturday, the 6th of March 2021. I was down at the lockdown allotment for about midday to continue with digging the horseradish out of the plot.

When I got there, there must’ve been three or four groups of people on various other plots in the Abbey Gardens allotments and it was the most number of people I had seen since September last year, easily. For the first time since then, eight months ago, I even saw my allotment neighbour. It really has been that long!

Pot bound horseradish

When I removed the plastic bin surrounding the horseradish plants, it was obvious it had become pot bound. That was exactly what I had intended — I had wanted it to get restricted from spreading out. But it had also split the edges of the container and forced its way down through the hole in the bottom — it had started to escape the container and begun to spread.

I started to dig it out piece by piece. Large chunks of horseradish sitting at the top of the were hacked out with the spade. As I got further down to the bottom, small pieces and streamers were pulled out of the ground, separated out and stored in the trug.

This was similar to the previous time I transplanted my horseradish … although without as much drama …

Horseradish out of the hole

By the end of my time out of the plot today, I had hacked out most of the horseradish plant. But I will need to come back again to finish off the bottom of the hole which still contains large pieces of plant. Then I will need to filter the soil to make sure there are no pieces left. This plant is a weed …

Starting to dig out the horseradish

The temperatures dropped again and it’s about 6° outside. Still it’s not that cold, it’s clear although the sky is grey, it’s still a nice day.

There are a few people down at the allotment when I arrive at about 5 o’clock in the afternoon. It’s Friday, the 5th of March 2021, I’ve finished for the day (working from home again). I needed to get out a bit.

The idea this year is to make a really big effort planting things. Last year was a year of digging and making a path. Not planting anything because I didn’t have time, but this year with all the lockdown continuing in one form or another I’m should have plenty of time to visit the allotment and tend to the plants I should be growing.

First job is first though. I need to get rid of this gigantic horseradish plant before it takes over and starts sprouting up halfway down the plot. Even though I contained it in a plastic tub, it’s begun to escape. I noticed that some of the horseradish streamers had started popping up further along from the container. Now is the time to dig it out and get rid of it.

A pot brimming full of horseradish

To dig this monster out it’s going to take a very long time. There will be no help from anybody else (social distancing) and I will need to be careful pulling something so large out of the ground in one go. For that reason I’ve only done a little bit today, and I will come back over the next couple of days and gradually take all this horseradish away.

Last time I had this horseradish plant, uncontained, I was digging the damn thing out for over a year. Even though I’ve contained this one I expect the streamers that have escaped the plastic tub will be making my life miserable for the next year or so as I pick up little pieces of horseradish plant that start sprouting out of the ground.

I’ll have another go tomorrow! And get rid of this weed!

Sunny Saturday during the second lockdown

It’s Saturday, the 27th of February 2021, and it’s a beautiful sunny spring day. Sky is blue with little clouds floating around and the birds are out again flying around the allotment. I’ve seen at least three groups of people down at the plots today! Spring is definitely here, winter is over at last!

The rhubarb has started!

I spent the morning digging over the second half of my plot. Last week I removed the surface weeds, and this week I picked up all the detritus and gave the ground a good digging over. It looks fantastic! It also helps that the grass is beautifully green and the sky is bright blue and it is really the first sunny day I’ve seen since this year!

Clean digging

The time is coming up to lunchtime. Probably I will tidy up and go home, but before I do that I’m just going to have a sit down in the chair overlooking my plot, underneath the apple tree. I’ll sit here watch the birds flying around, and listen to the insects. In the distance over in the high trees outside the garden I can hear the rookery cawing.

First day the year 2021

It’s Saturday, February 13th, 2021. And it’s the first time I’ve been down to the allotment for a very, very long time.

Robin on the case immediately

When I arrived the main gate house was open and they were allowing the public to visit the gardens. I have brought along a box of damson gin bottles for the girls in the main house at the front. Previously I had sorted out allotment allotment owners with their own box of damson vodka and gin at Christmas. However, because I have not visited the allotment in such a long time, this was the first opportunity I had to deliver for the volunteers at the main gate.

The snowdrops were out as I walked through the main gate and down the path towards the walled garden. The gate to the allotments was closed but there was one person inside tending their area.

The place wasn’t really in a bad state. I began by trying to dig the soil, but it was too frozen solid — the temperature is below freezing today. So instead I started by scraping the surface weeds off on the larger side of my plot. Then after that tiny bit of effort, I started to dig around the plastic pot that holds the horseradish plant. The plan is to take that out this year.

Partly dug over the easy part

The last job was to move the tarpaulin sheeting from the end of my plot towards the middle. That would allow me to dig over the end of the plot which had been previously covered. This part was not frozen because of its covering, so it was really easy going. No weeds and easily dug.

The time now is about 2:30 pm in the afternoon. I’m back at the car and ready to head home. As things go it was a really easy time at the allotment today. Because of lockdown number two, I haven’t really been able to make it. Work has got in the way, it has been rainy throughout January the weather has not been too great for a while — there have been plenty of excuses. But now I’ve been I’m wondering if they really were proper excuses. I should make more of an effort.

Handing back the long plot number 25

This morning at 6:45am I was down at the allotment (no longer fully locked down! although maybe partially) with one job left to do on the long plot against the wall: to finish it and get it into a state that would be suitable to be returned back to the allotment association.

Plot number 25, the long plot against the wall

I managed it in around three and a half hours this morning. Before the sun was too high and too hot was the best time to do the heavy work of digging and muck shifting.

Jobs that were finished today included: removing the remaining weeds, clearing the last of the soil at the far end of the plot, removing the last of the glass and plastics, straightening the border and flattening and raking the soil across the full length of the plot. Done! ✅

Happily I can now request the allotment association take back this long plot 25 and I will be rid of it completely! I only took this plot ok because it originally looked such a mess.

My old blog posting, I have this record:

That was way back in 2016, and back then it was high and full of weeds. What’s difference! The plot back then hadn’t been touched for several years. I was surrounded by weeds on three and a half sides, so I agreed to tackle it just so I wasn’t so badly surrounded.

I remember the first day I tackled that allotment plot. It was also a really nice sunny was day:

… now it’s time to hand it back.

More clearing of the long plot down the lockdown allotment

Today is Sunday, the 5th of July 2020. I was at the allotment at around 7 am this morning to clear off the long plot. Remove all the weeds which were getting up to knee-high, and transport as much soil as I could onto my main plot. I can see the finish line now and I want to cross it as soon as I can.

When I arrived this morning the ground was wet again. It had been raining during the night. But, like yesterday the ground was not sodden with water and the digging went quite easily. The plan was to do just one hour, but in the end I did two. It’s 9 o’clock now and I’ve just packed up and left the allotments.

First clearance pass on the long plot

Another 10 or 15 wheelbarrows were transported onto my main plot, but this time I was more concentrating on finishing the long plot. Clearing all of the weeds was the aim today. Handing back the long plot to the allotment association is now my top priority.

I would like to reach that goal as quickly as possible because yesterday the UK countrywide lockdown had started to get removed. Easing of restrictions had started. I am sad to say that I have not grown much on my main plot this year because of long plot clearing and also creating the path between my main plot and the neighbours plot. I would like to get back to concentrating on growing things again.

I cleared the majority of the weeds from the area against the wall and the only things left are

– fix the border edges

– clears the small patch of grass underneath the tree at the far end of the long plot

– rotorvate the long plot

I think that last step might be impossible because the machinery had been removed from the shed. Do I might end up doing that last part be hand. But in any case: there are only a few more steps remaining and soon I will be able to give it back to the allotment association and concentrate on my main plot from then on.

A 5:30 am start at lockdown allotments

I was awake early so I decided instead of lying in bed waiting for the rain to arrive, I would make an effort and get out of bed, get dressed drive down to the plot and do some digging before everybody is awake.

More soil manoeuvres

The weather last night must’ve been slightly drizzly because the ground was wet as I walked out of the house. The allotment was soaked through, but the digging was okay. I cleared some more weeds away from the far end of the long plot and then started to dig the patch of land ready to transport the soil back to my main plot.

I spent about an hour filling up wheelbarrows and transporting them onto a tarpaulin which I had spread out at the end of my plot. As I was filling up the wheelbarrow I was pulling out weeds and rocks, but I intend to filter this soil before I incorporated into my main allotment. That will be a job once the long plot against the wall has been handed back, and the reason I am transporting this on to blue tarpaulin instead of just dumping it at the far end of my plot.

That’s the plan anyway. Clear the long plot take my soil back, transport it onto the blue tarpaulin, then filter it by hand to get rid of all the main weeds and rocks. There seems to be a larger amount of glass and plastic on this long plot, probably because of the old compost heap that was used as a dumping ground for years. The soil all needs filtering.

The time is 7 o’clock in the morning now, I’ve cleared up, covered up and gone back to the car. The drizzle has started to return and there seems to be very little point getting stuck in the mud… this clearance will take a while longer to complete.

Weed picking down at the lockdown allotment

Today was the warmest day of the year so far. Typically 32 degrees C and more. I spent two and a half hours this morning at the allotment. I took a day of work at short notice because of the expected heat wave. I figured there was no point in sitting inside ask day.

The long plot against the wall is the last job on the list now that the path is finished. I need to clear that up, take the soil back and give it back to the allotment association. They can take it from here once I’ve cleaned it up properly and made it tidied and straightened it all out.

So today was the first part of that short plan. To remove the weeds that had been growing back for the past month. That job was easy to do because of the dry soil — the weeds came out easily. So, after 2 hours of pulling weeds the long plot is mostly cleared again. I can start to remove the soil and take back a bulk into my main plot next time I visit.

A short snack while weed picking

The last few minutes were spent eating tayberries … Potatoes and lettuce can be seen in the background of the picture here, but the main star of the allotment at the moment are the tayberries. They are perfectly ripe and ready for eating straight away.

Tayberry in fruit at the lockdown allotment

It’s Monday evening, 15th June 2020. The tayberry plant is fully fruiting down at the plot. I’ve not visited for a week and the tayberry has certainly bloomed and grown another 7 or 8 inches since I was last here.

Tayberries into the distance

My little helper came along tonight and then proceeded to scoff most of the ripened fruit 😋. In other helping ways, she also helped to feed Elvis the garden cat and to give her some well needed attention — plus some grass seeds, which probably weren’t needed.

I removed some canes that protected the path and covered the long plot again, put some slug gel on the wooden raised areas and then helped to pick some more tayberries for the little helper. Gave some more rhubarb away, examined the potatoes which seemed to be coming through okay, then it was time to go. Just another flying visit really.

Elvis in the neighbour’s border at the lockdown allotment

Today is Sunday 7th June 2020 and this afternoon I’ve been visiting the allotment. The job today was to plant all of the lettuce I had bought last weekend at the garden centre. About 25 of them.

Butterhead lettuce

The weather today was warm enough but the sky was slightly cloudy. That was good enough for digging and getting the ground ready for planting. I turned back a couple of metres of black sheeting and forked over the ground, then flattened it with the rake.

Today’s planting was mainly lettuce but I also planted cucumber, kohlrabi and kale plants.

A little later on I was visited by my little helper. Help ensued with digging and carrying bamboo canes for the cucumber. Finally all of the watering was helped with 🙂

Elvis sleep in the border

This was the first time the little helper had been to visit the allotment this year. Also help was given to Elvis the garden cat who turned up and was given cat treats straight away, before sleeping it off in the neighbour’s allotment border.

The best time of year to be a garden cat

It’s been about a week since I finished the path. And I’ve taken some time off from allotment work so I can do some other work on the garden at home.

Not all work has been stopped at the allotment and I can still find time to do the watering duty and garden cat patrol.

Elvis coming to greet me

Of course, the garden cat has been about whenever I’ve been there and happy to see people. Mainly she follows me through the gardens and into the allotment before dropping herself into a soil border to keep cool. Waiting in hope for cat treats and attention.

This is the best time of year to be a garden cat, it’s warm, the days are long and sunny and there are plenty of people around. It’s also quiet enough in the main gardens because of the lack of public.

It’s been a few days …

It’s been a few days since my last posting. But I’ve done a lot of work on the plot. Finally, I’ve finished the path! The full length of the plot now has a proper path down both sides — something that isn’t a mild death trap as you walk. No more uneven surfaces and no more pot holes to go over on. A nice even smooth well proportioned path.

Robin keeping me company

A couple of Robins kept me company while I worked. They kept flying in and taking the worms and millipedes etc. They have such good eyesight to be able to spot those from further over on the far side of the plot. Then they sweep in and grab a grub and then dart off to safety. Once or twice they stopped to give the insect a quick bash with a flick of head, just so it stopped struggling. Then off again to wherever the food was going.

Digging through the brick layer again

Before I can finish the last section of path I need to dig through the brick later again in order to get my stake into the ground far enough.

A path that’s about 30 or 40 cm down under the ground and runs parallel to the short edge of my plot stops me from sinking my stake any further. It’s a well built path with flat white stones and a couple of red bricks. So I guess although it’s an old path, it’s not ancient. I don’t feel bad about removing enough space to get my stake in. It’s not like I’m destroying a path from the ancient kitchen garden or maybe an old Roman road or anything.

The first time the path has been finished

So here it is! This is the first time the garden path has been completely finished. It’s looking a little bit worn here because the turf has just been laid, but it should settle down over the next week or so and in a couple of months it should look like it’s been there forever. At least it’s finished! I can now start to concentrate on fixing the long plot against the wall back to the allotment association.

Too hot for Elvis

The weather over the past week has been exceptionally hot. It’s just too hot for the garden cat who can only manage a few steps before dropping into a border to try and keep cool again. It’s just been too warm for Elvis.

Wednesday night watering duty

Another quick trip to the lockdown allotment to water the turf. There were quite a few people at the plots all doing very well on their allotments.

Sunny evening

The sun had been shining all day long as it had been doing all week. It plans to be hot like this for the rest of the week and the grass needs a lot of water to ensure the roots take properly.

Elvis was around again, touring for cat treats and attention from all passing allotment holders. The good weather is good for cat attention it seems.

Superb sunset at lockdown allotment

Another quick watering trip to soak the new turf path tonight (Tuesday 18th May). It was a quick visit just before it went dark and had the advantage of being there for the sunset — as the sun dropped well below the horizon behind the village church.

Darkening sky

There was no visit from Elvis. The last two people were going home just before I arrived and I was quickly alone. By the time I got back to the car it was nearly pitch black.

Short turf watering trip at the lockdown allotment

So it’s Monday 18th and I have about 30 minutes free this evening … it has been a fantastically sunny day all day but I’ve been working. There just enough time to water the turf I put down yesterday.

Path nearly complete

As I walked around the allotment I could see all of the plots (except for about four) had been worked and were already growing something this year. As it turns out, one of the plots is my main plot. I’m not counting the rhubarb, tayberry and horseradish…

It shouldn’t be long now. I can finish the path give the long plot against the wall back to the allotment association (or hopefully a new person who wants a plot) and grow something in my main area. I have a bag of chitted spuds 🥔 in the garage at home just waiting to be thrown in the ground.

Another two boards today

Sunday 17th May 2020 and week 8 of the lockdown. I spent 4 hours 20 minutes this morning putting in another two boards on the path between my plot and the neighbours’ areas.

Before the turf goes down

I was down at the allotment by around 6 am this morning. Nobody was around as usual, the sun hadn’t quite made it over the trees yet, plenty of birds around and my friend Elvis. But that was all.

I made a start in the usual way. Lifting the turf 35 cm chunks at a time and then placing them next to the path on my allotment. Then I boarded the path area. Today I was doing about 3 m of path.

The large amount of soil I was using to fill in the path area came from the long plot against the wall, as usual. I think there must’ve been at least 30 to 40 wheelbarrow loads of soil to make up the new height for the path. This took most of the time!

The soil as it was being removed from the long plot had to be filtered of plastics. Still, even though I had removed the majority of the plastics and waste from inside the compost bin on the long plot, I am still finding pieces of nylon string and bits of plastic and glass. In order for them to be removed from the allotment I am not just burying them under the path. I am taking them off site instead and trying to recycle them. What’s the other option there? Take them home to send them into landfill? Out of one hole in the ground and straight into another?

I think after the amount of work that I did today there should only be one or two more trips to the allotment in order to fix the last part of the path. Then I will be able to concentrate on making the long plot usable. And finally I will be able to concentrate back on my main plot.

New boards, final leg at the lockdown allotment

The final boards for the path are going in. I have four boards left to put in and this is 1 of 4 this afternoon. Each board it typically taking around 3 hours to put in and this afternoon (Friday 14th May) was no exception. But the weather was so superb, being at the allotment for that amount of time was not a problem.

Cutting the turf for the path

The weather has been dry for a long time and this has made the turf difficult to edge out with the spade. However the dryness of the ground has also made it easier to cut the turf thickness and this in turn makes it easier to lay afterwards.

I completed another section this afternoon and cleaned up some more of the long plot against the wall. Elvis the garden cat arrived for some cat treats and then scratched the garden bench.

Scratching post

Finally, I had enough time to look at the three plants which are currently growing on my main plot. I watered around then I tied up the tayberry plantwhich has started to shout up.

Tayberry looking great

There is interest in the long plot against the wall I have been told this afternoon. I think there is more people on the waiting list for plots at the allotment. This is the first time I’ve heard of people waiting for allotment plots. Possibly this might be interested parties because of lockdown across the country? Maybe. But in any case, I should hurry up and prioritise getting the long plot in a good state to hand back and remove the soil I “stored” from my main plot quickly.

I was toying with the idea of planting potatoes on the long plot in order to fill it up with something so it wasn’t left empty. Maybe buy some black sheeting so it was covered up. But if there’s a waiting list, then I should quickly hand it back to people who would use it.

Wednesday night lockdown watering

Later on Wednesday 13th May, just before sunset I found some time to visit the allotment. It was just to deliver some wooden stakes I had cut and planks I had got for the last of the edging work.

Evening lights, exceptionally quiet 🤫

I have enough wooden boards now to finish the long edge, the pathway between my plot and the neighbours’ plots. I am still probably looking at around nine or 10 hours work to finish this border, however the end of the boarder work is in sight now! At least for the path between the two allotment plots.

After dropping off the wooden planks into the centre of my main plot, I realise that some of the grass I had put down over the past few weeks looked a little bit dry around the edges. So I spent 10 or 15 minutes giving it a good soaking with the hosepipe.

By the time I’d finished there was nobody around at the allotment. This is not unusual for this time of night, however there was no noise anyway. No car noise, no noise from the birds or the wind. Everything was deathly quiet as the Sun went down. It was lovely!

Rainy Sunday lockdown visit

It’s been raining here are a few days. But I couldn’t stay away this morning. Sunday 3rd May 2020.

One again I was up at dawn and down to the allotment before anybody was out of bed. Nobody was around and I didn’t see a soul on the way. It was just me and Elvis the garden cat again. And the two magpies, a squirrel on the far wall, oh! and a large pheasant that I nearly ran over down the back roads.

Elvis greeted me but didn’t really want feeding. It seems that she is getting fed. There’s a bowl in her bench next to my plot.

Elvis and her bench

The long plot against the wall is gradually looking better as an amount of soil is transferred across to the path fix-up. The level against the wall is decreasing as expected and because I dig it over at the same time, it’s looking good.

Still to go, there’s another half of the work to do with the path and approximately half of the long plot to finish, but it’s looking well on the way to being completed now and it’s working out exactly as planned.

Long plot against the wall looking clearer

It was quite drizzly this morning and so I was getting wet while I did another small portion of the path. But it wasn’t a soaking, just a light dusting. I finished what I needed to get done and cleaned up. The weather helped with the soaking of the turf as well. It was muddy, but not hard work.

Turf edge of the new grass path

I am now out of wood. The number of boards I originally purchased for the plot worked out as the right amount, but I have used the boards for other projects over the past two years, so this means I’ve run out. My next job before going any further with the allotment edging is to buy more boards.

Sunny Sunday watering trip to the lockdown allotment

It’s Sunday 24th April 2020 and we are at the end of the fifth week in countrywide lockdown. The allotments are looking better than they have done in a long time, and there’s a notice on the board to congratulate all those people who have been tending their plots! Well done!

Th not all the plots are looking perfect. Mine for instance is under black sheeting as I follow on with my plan to finish the grass borders. It’s looking good underneath however.

Then there’s the exception of the usual suspects of course. Some plots have not looked good for years and even when one of the only thing allowed is to visit the allotment, they still don’t look great.

Garden allotment shed door notice board

A quick trip this afternoon was to strim the edges of the plot and cut the grass which was getting slightly long in areas. This was finished in 10 minutes. Then I fed Elvis who appeared (possibly with the noise of the strimmer) and asked for food. Finally I watered the turf. All done within 20 minutes.

The place was almost empty. There were a couple of people over the far side, but they were leaving just as I arrived. Then it was just me and the garden cat left over.

It’s super hot outside, blue sky with small white clouds, slight breeze, mid to high 20s I would say: possibly too hot for digging at the allotment right now. I expect there will be more people later on in the evening when it’s cooled down.

Early morning Saturday path fixes at the lockdown allotment

Today is Saturday, the 25th of April 2020. It has been quite a marathon visit to the allotment plot today. Arriving at 6:30am at the front gate and staying for 5 hours and 40 minutes. This was planned and expected because I was fixing the path surrounding my main allotment.

Each 2m 40cm section of path takes approximately three hours to complete, as I discovered the last time I did a section at the allotment last weekend. This weekend I hoped to get two sections completed.

Two sections dug out

First job is to dig out the turf, each piece of turf is approximately 35 cm wide on the short side. This makes two of them fit in the 70 cm width of the path. Digging out the turf is not a difficult job but each piece has to be carefully cut with the spade to ensure it is the correct thickness all the way across the grass.

Adding the wooden border is easy after this. The width is 70 cm across and so the only two things to do are: keep it 70cm all the way down and then level it across with the spirit level.

Back fill the new path

The long plot against the wall is used as a source of soil for backfilling into the path. It is raised up to path height. A surprising number of wheelbarrow trips are needed to backfill this section. Each wheelbarrow was individually sifted to remove stones, plastics and weeds. The the soil was then stomped down and finally a loose layer added on top and flattened equally using a wooden slat.

The whole place was very quiet. There are lots of birds around however. Robin as usual, the large noisy pheasant, a couple of magpies that would keep appearing, some crows in the trees. Lots of small birds on the feeders. Every hour the village church would chime (one hour behind). Other than that it was quiet.

Turfed up

Then, once the soil level is ready for turf is replaced lengthwise. Each piece is carefully added and then the gaps in between is filled with more soil. Everything is compacted down. Finally the whole thing is given a good soaking with the water pipe.

Here comes Elvis

This whole lot took proximately 5 and 1/2 hours to finish. As I was packing up and getting ready to go home I saw the garden cat, Elvis. She looked quite tired and hungry. So when I return the tools to the car I picked up some cat treats from the boot and returned to finish the final job of the day: give Elvis some cat treats.

The lockdown is still in full force. There were a few people at the allotment today, but only 4 or 5 while I was there. On the way out of the gardens I saw some cyclists passing through. There are a few more people walking on the back roads and some more cyclists. But it’s still very quiet.

Watering and feeding Elvis during lockdown

Wednesday 22nd April 2020. Just a quick visit to the plot tonight because I didn’t get to go outside today during lunchtime as expected. Work got in the way of that but at the same time opened up the opportunity to go to the allotment later in the evening.

Elvis is in the allotment

The main tasks are turf watering and catfeeding related and those were easily accomplished this evening.

Last job was to flatten the border edges. The grass running around the plot is quite bumpy and dangerous in places, so I am flattening it out gradually.

Monday watering the turf at the lockdown allotment

It’s quite late on in the evening and I finished work for the day. I thought I would take a quick trip to the plot to see how the turf was taking. And I really needed to give it a good soaking because it had been a very hot day today.

Tayberry starting

When I got there, there were only two other people on the far side of the walled allotment garden. I quickly on furled the hosepipe and gave the grass a good soaking. Then I started to soak the only three other plants I have growing on my allotment at the moment. The rhubarb, the Tayberry plant on the climber, and the horseradish.

Elvis arrived. Luckily I had some cat food with me and so I took a handful of that and dropped it into the middle of my plot. The garden cat was very pleased again.

Another allotment holder arrived just as I was leaving. That left just three of them as I went out of the gate. I was only there for 10 or 15 minutes just enough time to soak the turf I laid yesterday.

A bright Sunday at the lockdown allotments

Sunday, the 19th of April 2020. I was up early again, the car was already packed with planks of wood, a saw, a drill, spirit level, some wooden stakes I cut yesterday, … etc. I got straight in the car and set off.

As I was driving down the quiet back roads towards the allotment I suddenly remembered I’d forgotten my spade. It was hanging up in the garage and I had meant to pick it up before I left !! I knew I should’ve left a reminder, something to prompt me before I got in the car.

I carried the wooden planks from the car through to the allotment, then as I returned for the wooden stakes I met Elvis the cat. She was waiting by the open gate. Looking like she has just woken up. I had remembered to pack some cat treats this time and they were in the car boot so as I picked up the last of the wood I also grabbed a bag of food for Elvis.

Happy Elvis

The cat looked very pleased. I left her sitting in the middle of my plot with a large handful of dried catfood. Then I walked back to the car and drove home.

I returned later that day, this time with all the equipment I needed to start digging the borders of the plot. This would be the first time I would be creating a proper path between the two allotment plots. Probably this has been two or three years in the making to get here.

Border path

The minimum width for a path (according to the allotment manual) is 50 cm. The one I’m creating is 70 cm wide. that should be enough.

I am reusing the turf that already exists between the two plots. So the first job is to dig it up in sections.

After that I also need soil from the long plot against the wall and so I wheelbarrow that into the space I had created for the path. Then I relay the turf on top. It looks quite good by the time I’m finished. Although this is taking a lot longer than I expected. Normally each straight plank of wood I put down takes about an hour to get finished. I expected maybe another hour for the rest of the job. But in the end the whole job took 3 hours to complete just one section. I had underestimated again: put in the border plank, dig up the turf and strip the soil so it was flat, wheelbarrow soil and the lay the turf back.

There are another six sections to do. This should take quite a long time but will be worth it by the end. Once the border is finished spending time cutting the grass around my plot will be minimal. And as a side effect along plot against the wall will also be dug over and finished as well.

I will not be growing anything on my main plot this year because I will be too busy finishing the grass borders and the long plot against the wall.

Easter Monday Lockdown Allotment 🐣 🔐 🌱

Up at dawn. Down at the allotment by 6:30am. There was nobody around again, either on the way there, or while I was there. I was all alone.

Task list today … this was quite light. I had to flatten some of the soil on the long plot due to the digging I did last time. I found another rhubarb plant underneath the black sheeting, so I transferred that to the long plot. I tied up the Tayberry and transplanted a small Tayberry seedling onto a spare vertical space on the trellis.

Allotment garden, a view towards the local church

After that I was pretty much done! So I took a quick walk around the allotment garden. There is plenty of work going on and a lot of the allotments look amazing. I think this is probably going towards the best I have seen it in a very long time. People are doing quite a lot of work down on their plots.

My main plot has one long border completed.

My main plot is looking, well… It’s looking covered up. The edges are looking a lot better and I need probably at least another six boards to finish all four sides. Probably that will wait though. I really need to make a start on the path between my main plot any my neighbour’s area.

It is all very under control …

Good Friday lockdown allotment visit

Today is Friday April 10, 2020. It is my day off work and as usual I am up at dawn. But, this time instead of the commute from the bedroom downstairs into the small room… instead of sitting inside in front of the computer all day (which I would be doing anyway) instead of all that: it’s a bank holiday so, I had planned a quick trip to the allotment for my daily allowed exercise.

The car was packed and ready, my bag was packed and all my clothes laid out (on the floor — you can’t tell the difference there either). Within 10 minutes of waking up, I was in the car and had set off, travelling the short way to the plot.

No one is usually around at this time in the morning anyway but even more so during the country-wide lockdown.

I didn’t see a soul as I drove down the back roads through the fields, not a thing on the roads except for the rabbit that was racing me on the grass verge. There was nobody around as I unlocked the main gate with a sanitation wipe, nobody except for the two peasants strutting around the front gate and in the middle of the road outside. There was nobody in the main grounds or in front of the house as I walked past, not a thing except for sheep and new born lambs walking around the fields and sheltering under the trees. No one at all in the gardens or inside the walled allotment, no body except for Elvis the garden cat (sorry Elvis I forgot your treats again!) … I was all alone. No voices or car noises in the distance, no bells marking congregations from the village church, no contrails in the sky, only a couple of ducks flying past.

The borders of the long plot are looking straighter and neater. I’ve finished one long side on my main plot. The long plot against the wall has started to go into shape as well! As I look around, the other allotment owners are holding up their side of the schizophrenic country by digging their plots.

Lockdown allotment visit on Sunday 4th April 2020

I was up early again. Out of bed, dressed ready for the plot, into the car which was already pre-packed with all the equipment I needed, and then I set off for the allotment.

I saw nobody. There was nobody around outside the house, I saw no cars or any person on the way to the allotment and then when I got there I saw nobody as I travelled through the main gate past the front of the main house (the fields were full of newborn lambs) and into the allotment garden. It was empty.

As I entered into the walled garden I was met by Elvis the garden cat! This is the first time I’ve seen Elvis this year! Honestly, I was beginning to wonder whether she had survived the winter or not?! And because of this I wasn’t prepared: I did not have any cat food with me and there wasn’t any in the boot of my car either. Unfortunately that meant Elvis wasn’t getting any treats from me today.

I started work instead. On the list of jobs to do today:
– Strim the edges and borders of both plots
– Continue boarding out the far edge of my main plot
– Add three more slats to the Tayberry climber

This little lot took about three hours to complete.

The weather this weekend has been fantastic. It’s been sunny and bright outside and not too hot. Just right for working down at the plot. For most of the morning I had company from Elvis and a rather large pheasant that was easily spooked every time I hit the wooden stakes with the mallet.

I was finished by 11 am. I had packed up and was ready to go back home. Everything was strimmed neatly and the border is looking a lot better. I added two more boards in-line with the rest. Just one more board now before I reach the end of the plot. I’m not very far away from finishing one long edge at last!

As I walked back to the car I made sure all the gates were closed properly. For some reason all of the gates were open this morning. The front gate, the middle gate into the gardens and the gate into the allotment were all wide open. That was strange because the only main directive we have been given is to close all gates after use.

Lockdown allotment

It’s Saturday 4th April 2020 and we are two weeks into the covid-19 country-wide lockdown. The general manager at the Abbey has confirmed the Allotments can continue to operate as normal, with a specific proviso that we close the gates after using them.

According to the National Allotment Association, members should take the precautionary measures which include using hand sanitiser regularly before opening and after closing any gate locks; observing “Social Distancing” with each other 2-3 metres; minimising the contact with each other and; not sharing any tools.

It’s about 8am and I didn’t see a soul as I travelled to the main gates. I use sterilised wipes to open them and then I walked down the front path towards the walled garden. It looked as though the land owners had been fixing up the gardens in the last two weeks. Some of the flower borders had been cleared up and a path had been repaired.

I’ve never seen the allotment looking so quiet and still, except there is definitely an increase in wildlife. There were plenty of bird flying around and roosting in the trees. The pheasant made a quick visit also, but I was the only person there.

Allotment lockdown

My main job for this visit was to check out the borders and figure out how much effort it will take to start work tomorrow. And also to collect some rhubarb. I picked up about 20 or so stalks of rhubarb from my main rhubarb plant and then dropped them into the centre of the plot while I started to turn over the long plot against the wall.

Rhubarb haul

The Association had locked up all communal facilities. The garden shed was closed and locked up. The key has been taken. So, instead of using the rotavator to quicken up the time it should take to turn over the long plot against the wall, I spent an hour doing it by hand.

As I left the allotment garden I took a quick look round. Some of the plots had been turned over completely and planted and the majority had been at least started. It looks like now, with time on their hands, people are using it to spend time at the allotment. It’s starting to look a lot better.

It’s going to be rhubarb crumble tonight for dessert