January is over. January always feels longer than any other month in the year. How does it feel to you?
The days are getting longer and the sun is pushing through the rain clouds. It’s still cold but it’s all the more tolerable with the sun on your back.
The ground is fairly water logged at the moment so there is little to do but tidy and plan out the allotment. So this weekend I headed over to the allotment to stake out the beds for this year.
As with previous year, I plan to grow more self sufficient veg at the allotment. Between work, my photography business and my home garden, I don’t have a huge amount of time to tend the allotment. So I plan to grow things which look after themselve, not need a lot of watering and cover the ground to prevent weeds.
This year I’ll be laying out paths using heavy duty weed supresant. Once all of the work is done I’ll have 2 brassica cages, 2 long beds of 60cm wide, 4 large beds for potatoes and butternut squash as well as another large bed for sweet corn. Our raspberries, blackberries and goosberries will stay where they are, as will the Apple, plum and pear tree.
The previous occupiers of the allotment has at some point planted some bulbs and it was a nice to see the snowdrops and other spring flowers starting to grow. A welcome reminder that we are heading towards spring.
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Someone explained what an ‘allotment’ is earlier, but I did not want to ask more questions about it. Do homes lack garden space? I mean, why do people not grow fruits and vegetables in their own gardens? Are allotments rented? I know that some neighborhoods have community gardens, where those who live in apartments can rent garden space within walking distance of their homes. In this neighborhood, there used to be a community garden (that is now gone – see ‘anti-community garden’) because so many of us live where the redwood trees make too much shade for gardening.
Hi, thanks for the comment. The concept of allotments goes back hundreds of years where poeple would work the land and give some of the food to the land lord and feed themselves. What we know as an allotment today comes from the 19th century when land was given to the poor to grow food. It was also a big part of life during the 2nd world war, “dig for victory”, and the post war years. So they came from a tjme when people didnt have access to gardens or land to grow. Councils have a legal duty to provide allotments but many are being closed down and rents are going up. I have an allotment on a private site (the land was left to the local community when a local land owner passed away) and pay a small rent each year. This allows me to extend my growing capacity. It’s around 200m2 and allows me to grow produce at a scale I couldnt at home and veg which need a bit of space. I have a garden which is big by local standard but it isn’t large. I do grow at home too but tend to grow things which need more care and atrension there. Having an allotment means I can have a garden for my family to use as well as grow lots of our own food. It’s a shame your neighbourhood is anti community garden. There’s a lot of benefits of having them.
Oh, the neighborhood is not anti-community garden. It is a long story. (If you care to read it: https://tonytomeo.wordpress.com/2017/12/09/hate-destroys/ ) There are popular community gardens in bigger cities, particularly in San Jose and Los Angeles. Those who rent plots there really enjoy having them available. San Jose was originally very suburban, with nice homes on descent sized parcels. However, it is being redeveloped with huge homes on small parcels, or high density housing without garden space. Some of the large homes are so tall, and surrounded by such high fences that the little bit of space around them is completely shaded. It is sad. Yet, there are a few who still want to grow things.
I had a read. It’s a shame about what happened but great to hear how your community supports each other.
It has gotten much better since then. The hatred that was ignored back then is no longer sociably tolerable. It happened pretty quickly.
200 square meters is actually a good sized garden! (I just converted it). It is about half the size of one of my parcels, which are city lots (in size) that can not be built upon. The smaller parcel that I use works nicely for some things, but is too shaded by redwoods to grow vegetables.
The size works for me. It’s not so big it is unmanageable but still bug enough to grow a good variety of veg. It’s also a great community from the young, new to growing, to the old and wise plot owners who know more about what works on my plot than I do.