A garden has become available for you if you would like to come and have a look at it?” went the start of the phone call. You can probably imagine the excitement as the children and I donned coats and wellies and walked up to the village allotments the same afternoon.
The subsequent conversation went something like, “The former occupant was evicted for not tending the allotment so the plot is in a bad way; if you choose to take the garden it will be your responsibility to make it workable.” This seemed fair enough but nothing could prepare us for our first viewing. Take a look at the video and see what it was like. My husband was at work at the time so I described the plot over the phone; he saw it the following day and said, “It’s even worse than you described!”
I love a challenge and a project, and having waited years for an allotment, and not knowing how many more years I would wait for an alternative, I couldn’t say no, so we took the plot (and the rubbish that came with it!)
The children were eager to get going but the first 6 weeks was all about making it safe, clearing broken glass, literally dozens of trips to the local tip, hiring a skip and having several bonfires. On the plus side, the soil hadn’t been farmed for years and so the ground was fertile, although covered in deep rooted weeds.
Clearing the rubbish wasn’t pleasant and we found many random things (a single wellington boot, a bath, newspapers from 15 years ago, bags of rusting screws and general household rubbish to name but a few), but by late spring we had cleared enough ground to start planting.
Happy Birthday allotment, we’ve come a long way together! You’re not the prettiest garden, but you produce beautiful food and provide hours of enjoyment and good life experiences for the children.