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A novice's guide to producing his own food


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A new beginning

As you see, the allotment is ideally placed to catch the sun.

In my last post of 2009, I closed by saying I was hoping to get a new and bigger allotment. Well, it has happened. The teeny-totey piece of ground I adopted last year, and which has inspired this blog , will have to be left behind, and I’ll have to do everything again – and an awful lot more.

Do I feel wistful about ditching the old one? Not at all. Am I disheartened that I’ll have to start from scratch? Not one jot. Why? Simply because the excitement about the new patch of ground is dominating all my thoughts on the matter. Over Christmas I’ve come to realise the allotment has become one of my great passions, although, to be honest, I can’t explain why has it taken such a grip on me. However, I suspect it’s down to a multitude of all-good reasons.

Anyway, I digress. The new plot must be about three times bigger than the old, is in a much, much worse state, and (by all accounts) has poorer soil, so it is going to be a lot of work. March to July is a very busy time in the grow-your-own calender regardless, so that just leaves February to get everything into a shape resembling a ship.

The allotment is approximately 17 metres by seven. It’s not an exact rectangle, more of rhomboid.

When I first started eyeing it up, it was only a small section nearest the road which was in poor shape. But over the last six months, it has really gone downhill. The whole thing has now become overrun with weeds, but to be honest, I’m relishing the challenge. Strange as it sounds, I quite like digging. It’s great exercise and you see a result (unlike the gym, which is just exercise).

 

Caroline Foley’s perfect plot will become the template for my own

The book Practical Allotment Gardening by Caroline Foley( http://preview.tinyurl.com/yzowu6q ) has an illustration of the “perfect allotment”. I’m going to base mine on this. In fact, in one way mine could be better, because the shed is offsite, leaving the whole plot for growing fruit and  veg.

The area where Caroline designated her shed, I hope to stick a couple of beehives. Low fences will need to be built in front of it. This will force the bees to fly above head height. The last thing I want is to hack off other allotmenteers. All the “neighbours” have given their blessing, so it’s only right I inconvenience them as little as possible.

So, there you have it. I’ve overcome two major hurdles (everyone has agreed to the bees, and I’ve got the plot I wanted), so I’ve taking this as a good sign. All I need now are some longer days and some fine weather …