7 May 2011


I spent some time today at the Allotment (between walking my parents' dog every few hours, ferrying hubby to the train station, feeding and cleaning cats and hens) cutting out the limp and blackened foliage which was frost-damaged. There are, thankfully, healthy green shoots coming through on the potatoes, but I fear the courgettes may be terminal...

Our allotment neighbour on the other side made a rare appearance today. Poor couple, they're busy with home and garden commitments and haven't really got the time to deal with preparing an allotment for planting. I'd had my suspicions about the yellowing colour of their weeds and they said to me today that they had been spraying weedkiller on their plot as they hadn't time to really weed :-( I admit I'm disappointed - they did this last year and I can't help but think that if they're so pushed for time they have to resort to weedkiller... I'm also concerned that some of the weedkiller might contaminate my plot. I don't put chemicals on my plot, or garden for that matter, and though it's time consuming and back-breaking work, all weeding is done by hand. I like being able to reassure people to whom I give veg/ fruit to that there are no artificial chemicals used and it's as organic as I can manage (though it wouldn't meet, say, the Soil Association criteria because it's on previously used farmland - and of course because our allotment neighbour uses weedkiller...)

I've told you about the shed at our Allotment haven't I? Because our neighbour across the path had decided not to put up a shed, ours stood exposed to the full fury of the North and Westerly gales, and given that 60mph winds are fairly routine, even in summer, with gusts to 70mph and beyond also being fairly frequent, our poor shed took a fair battering. Once we were able to go back in February to see the damage the Cailleach had caused, we saw that the shed had been blown backwards, and off its plinth. Consequently it had a rather jaunty listing to one side, and there was a knack to opening the door: standing at one side of the shed and pushing it so it (temporarily) righted itself and the door could be hauled open.

When I was engaged in the act of shoving the shed, John, one of our allotment neighbours on one side, stood with mouth agape at the palaver. He came over to investigate and see if there was anything he and his trusty electric hammer drill/screwdriver thing could do. When he was sliding planks of wood under the shed to balance it out, another plot-holder we're friendly with, Jack, a retired joiner, came over to see what was going on and before I could demur effectively, they were both tackling the problem of the shed and how to rectify it.

Half an hour later, our shed is elevated up a few inches, but thanks to the judicial positioning of some planks, a "bracing" on one corner, and some other jiggery-pokery, it is now level and stable and the door can be opened and closed easily. The bits of the shed that had come loose because of the warping, have been securely screwed back into place.

Jack, bless him, is going to fashion a wee plinth to act as both a step and to conceal the props under the shed.

How fab is that? It just reminds me how genuinely kind and helpful people are and how there is a real sense of community in the Allotments.

Now, as Jack says, we have a "proper" shed, a proper allotment shed.

Now to think about how I can pimp it :D

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