Monday, 13 June 2011

The New Allotment Plot

When I registered my interest for a plot in Wales, I ultimately did so for myself.  I did not think my father would be that overly interested in it, but I have been taken aback by his reaction, or should I say actions.   
With the help of my two younger nephews ((aged 11) who were on their half term school holidays), he leaped right in with enthusiasm and determination transforming the 95 foot by 40 foot land.  Here are some photographs of progress. 

They first chopped and cut down the sharp lengthy brambles, stinging nettle and weeds.  Then my father hired a rotavator and turned the soil to reveal deep red, hard, clay soil.  I know using the rotavator is not a good move as you shred and turn the weeds in.  In time these multiply and you have more tough weeds to contend with, but with the growing season passing us by, he was keen to get something in the solid ground now.
Well this is how I found the plot last weekend.  Here I am standing under the apple tree.
Our allotment plot is at the bottom of a steep sloping Welsh hillside.  Its not one of those allotment sites, where you can gab at your allotment neighbour over the fence.  These allotment plots are staggered, a bit like terraces you find on tea plantations.  
As the allotment plot is so big, my father has divided it into three.  The above photograph shows the left side where my mother has already thrown in some spinach, fenugreek, coriander and radishes.  As there is no shelter on the allotment plot, my father plans to build a shed right at the back.  In the middle where my father is walking he has marked out two vegetable plots/beds  - the rest of this middle land will remain as it is.
The photograph below is the right side of the allotment plot.  This is the side I have been given.  To be truthful, this is really now my fathers allotment plot.  I am happy to be a part of it as this growing venture will only bring us closer again.  I am genuinely really, really happy about that. 

Anyway, unlike my fathers higgledy plot beds, I have carefully marked out 8 x 9 foot by 9 foot neat plots and staked them for when we can find, buy or acquire wood.  For now they have been tied with jute string as a marker and reminder to nephews not to tread.  As I have not yet made my move to Wales yet, I have only planted in two plots.  I have given one over to my two helpful nephews.  The other 5 to my parents to do with as they wish for now.
As you can just about see, I have planted some vegetables that I purchased at reduced price.
As well as some herbs: rosemary, sage, thyme, chives and marigolds, I was able to plant some peas, butternut squash,
courgettes and sweetcorn,
There were some raspberry canes on the allotment plot, that I dug up and transferred.  I don't know if they will take, they look really thirsty.  Every time I watered them, the water just seemed to disappear. The ground is really hard and parched.
Below: my nephews plot.  They both have a strawberry plant each, two butternut squashes and some marigolds.
I have sneakily set them a challenge: to see who grows the best and biggest butternut squash.  This challenge will hopefully encourage and motivate them to go with my father to the allotment plot, as well as help with the watering.
As we were leaving, opposite my fathers plot is a overgrown plot that does not belong to anyone.  We all spotted some dark berries gleaming, as I pushed back the stinging nettle I realised they were ripe blackcurrants.  One of my nephews pulled off a berry and popped it into his mouth.  I was waiting for a 'err' reaction, but he smiled and said 'its nice'.  So I decided to cut of the ripe stalks and twigs to take back to their grandparents home for a sweet dessert.
The following day, we made Blackcurrant Crumble. Every member of my family had a bowl with custard, and every one of them pulled that soured puckered face upon tasting the sharp blackcurrant berries.


  1. Is this allotment part of the program started by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall?

  2. This is so wonderful and exciting! x

  3. What a fabulous allotment! And it's so wonderful that its such a family affair too :)
    Heavy clay soil - I can sympathise! (I also, like your Dad, have higgledy beds!) But once you've dug it over & gotten some air & organic matter incorporated, you'll have lovely fertile stuff for growing all sorts of delicious things!
    Good luck, dear friend. I hope this is the start of a wonderful new chapter for you!

  4. Yes!!! Family is important. This is a very moving tale, of gardening skill and enthusiasm spanning the generations. I sincerely wish you every success with this plot. With such willing co-operation I'm sure you will make it so.

  5. How lucky you are to have your own allotment plot! And how lucky you are to have found blackcurrants! For free! Here they cost a fortune and I love them so much, especially their tartness! I bet I wouldn't have needed any custard with it ;-)

  6. Now this is so exciting, to be able to watch you transform this patch. I bet you are really happy you now have an allotment plot back again. I wish you all the best with it!

  7. Che lavoro splendido, bravissimi! Un saluto.

  8. Thank you for sharing this...what a grand great big allotment plot you have found! It will be such a pleasure seeing it grow, ripen and be harvested via your blog entries.

  9. I love allotments, I had one at school whenstudied o level agricultural science and both my Dad and Grandad kept one.Yours (or your Dad's!) looks very promising. Get some organic material dug in later in the year and it will break the clay down and do wonders for next years planting.
    Happy gardening

  10. It's great seeing your photos right from the very start of the allotment.
    Such a lot of work has gone into it, and it's a real family effort.
    How delightful to find those blackcurrants too!
    Thank you for sharing it all Shaheen, it's a pleasure to read.
    (Your apple tree looks beautiful and will be most fruitful - they are so dependable aren't they).
    Cheerio, Susan

  11. Hi Shaheen. For those of us not familiar, exactly what is an allotment plot? Is it available to all citizens or limited in numbers. How long do you possess rights? Whose land was this originally? The governments?

    This is a foreign term to those of us in the USA. We simply get taxed on this side of the pond.

  12. Wow what fantastic progress, a lot of hard work has gone into the allotment already. I hope the veg do well. Does the plot have a water supply?
    What a score re. the blackcurrants!!

  13. Gorgeous photos of the land!! :)

  14. Your allotment progress is so exciting! I'm amazed at how much you have done already. The space is impressive too - bigger than my garden courtyard for sure :)

  15. Wow!!

    Everything looks fantastic.

    What a transformation!!


  16. how lovely to have a plat that your family is interested in - seems like there is already some warm community spirit at the allotment - it must be tugging at you to return quickly

  17. Three-Cookies,
    No, allotments are different. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall started Landshare. As there are not enough allotments in the U.K and the waiting lists are so long, HFW encouraged people who had spare land to share with those who wished to grow vegetables.

    Thank you Kath.

    Thank you so much littleblackfox
    I am so surprised at how my father and nephews has jumped right. Ihope it lasts and is not just a phase, and diminish when the weeds start coming up again, because they will.

    Yeah the soil is clay heavy, but hopefully we will get to dig in some organic matter and it will break down and be more manageable. You made me smile at your comment of my Dads higgledy beds.

  18. Thank you so much Mark.
    I do hope the enthusiasm lasts and that this is not a phase. I have to be honest, I am a little nervous of the location. The allotment plot is on a steep hill, we are right at the bottom. It fine with the current weather conditions, but how will it be when it rains heavy (muddy sliding ground as there are no steps), and worse when it snows - it could be deemed a dangerous. I know i will be fine, but i am concerned about the long term for my parents. The plot is accessible for my father now, but not so much my mother who has a disability. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your kind and warm wishes.

    Thank you Sissi.
    I do feel fortunate to have an allotment plot! The blackcurrants were a bonus!
    In the U.K we don't see blackcurrants for sale that much, only redcurrants and they are pretty expensive. Like you, I didn't have custard with mine blackcurrant crumble ;-)

    Thanks James Brewer.
    More likely that my father will transform this patch, but i will play a role in it too.

    Thank you so much Tinny.

  19. Thanks Gardeningbren.
    Yes, it certainly is grand great big allotment plot. I am glad that three generations are working on it!

    You may have to wait a while before I start posting recipes with vegetables from it, as it will be a good few months before I officially move down, but every time I go down, I will provide an update.

    Thanks Jane aka Chicken lover.
    Gosh I wish I had the option of studying agricultural science at school. Its lovely to read that both your Dad and Grandad kept an allotment.

    Thanks for the advice, I will let my Dad know to get some organic material dug in later in the year. Anything that will help break the clay down.

    Thanks Susan.
    Yes my father and little nephews have put a lot of work into it. Hopefully they will stick with it and gain some of the rewards too.

    Yes we did get really lucky with the blackcurrants. The greedy person in me is thinking about digging up the plant and transferring it to my fathers plot later in the year.

    The apple tree is laden with little apples at the moment, be a little while before we can harvest them.

  20. Hi Chucky.
    You've asked me a lot of questions about what exactly is an allotment plot. I can't seem to locate my blog post that explains what an allotment plot is, so Please follow this link and it should answer all or most of your questions.

    I think in the USA they would be known as Community Gardens, maybe even CSA.

    The allotment plot I had in the West of Scotland cost me £30.00, the one in Wales £50.00.

    If you have still have any questions that have not been answered by the link, please let me know and I will do my utmost to answer them.

  21. Thank you Bridget.
    Yes, my young nephews and father have worked hard on it already. I was and am so impressed with them.

    The allotment site does have a water supply, but its location is a bit of a nuisance for us as it is pretty much at the top. We will def. be investing in a water hose and rainwater collecting barrels.

    Thank you Jess :)

    Thanks Kari.
    Like you I too am amazed at the progress of the allotment - Thanks to my nephews and Dad!
    Your so right, the space is huge. In fact, it is one of the largest plots on the site. The reason for this - its the last plot and on the corner :) I know together as a family we will be able to manage it, but i am concerned about enthusiasm - will it last or will it fizzle out.

    Thank you Martin.
    Its certainly a start.

    Thanks Johanna GGG.
    Without trying to sound too negative, I do have some long term and personal concerns. Firstly
    I do hope my fathers and nephews enthusiasm lasts and that this is not a phase. Secondly, I have to be honest, I am a little nervous of the location. The allotment plot is on a very steep hill, we are right at the bottom. It fine with the current weather conditions, but how will it be when it rains heavy (muddy sliding ground as there are no steps), and worse when it snows - it could be deemed a dangerous. I know both D and me will be fine, but i am concerned about the long term for my parents. The plot is accessible for my father now, but not so much my mother who has a disability.
    Lets see how it all progresses.

    Re community spirit at the allotment, I can only hope it will be better than my previous allotment plot. I tread this path with an open mind and look forward to this new growing venture.

  22. Best of luck with your new and large allotment, Shaheen. I hope this one will give you wonderful memories and food. You have a very pretty name. Thanks for sharing it here.

  23. Its very interesting seeing how others garden in a different country.I find your blog very cool,indeed..

  24. What a lovely plot of land for a garden, Mango. And it's especially nice that your family will be helping you. Best of luck in growing new things in a new space. Our home is at the bottom of a hill, too, but the water runs into the front yard, where little "ponds" form. Maybe some old hay bales at the top of the garden will help prevent runoff.
    Also, are you using "shaheen" as your author name on emails?

  25. Thank you e.
    I'm excited about the allotment and am lookign forward to workign with my father on it :0
    Thank you so much for the compliment regarding my name.

    Thanks Tommy - its lovely to make your acquaintance. It took me a while to get my blog established. It was six months before I got any comments or regular hits and the followers came much later. So it sure is a labour of love.

    I will be coming by and checking out your blog and growing space too.

    Thanks Barbara GF.
    For your advice re: the water, I will have to check out the situation when I eventually get to move closer. Whatever we do will have to be cost efficient or recycled, as we don't want to be spending too much money there, as things do have a tendency of disappearing - even at the best allotment sites.

    Yes after much consideration, I have decided to use my real name.

  26. Wow! What a lot of work has gone into making that allotment lovely! Well done all of you! I loved seeing all your photos, happy growing! :) xx

  27. This is soooooo exciting Mangocheeks. I especially love reading posts like this - thank you.


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