Thursday, 15 May 2008

Feels like home...

The weather report stated that the fabulous weather we've been having recently would break overnight and today in the south we'd wake up to heavy rain, hail and thunderstorms. Well, they got it partly right, we've had more in the way of light showers than a downpour but it does mean that I was right to take the opportunity to spend about 8 hours over the last two days at the plopment getting stuff into the ground before the rains came.

Tuesday I dug out the rows of invisible Rocket seedlings as I couldn't find them and replaced them with Spring Onion and Carrot seedlings. I don't hold out much hope for the Carrots as they've already been attacked by a snail in the plastic-house but I'm fed up of looking at them in there so into the ground they go. I also started to weed around the row of Second Early potatoes because the chickweed, couch grass, bindweed and mare's tail were coming back. I had hoped that walking on them would kill them off but all it did was flatten and harden the earth.

Yesterday (Wednesday) I decided I was going to put up the poles for the Climbing French Beans. For the past 6 or 7 years I've been growing French Beans in two huge round pots at home so I've never done the traditional, all in a line, pole arrangement before. Last week I'd bought a batch of 8 foot tall canes and was worried they were going to be too tall but the ground at the plopment is so soft they easily sank in about 1.5 feet or so. I tied them together and then added smaller ones through the top to stabilise it. There are ten canes in the ground but I currently have 12 plants so two had to double up. I've more coming on in the plastic-house so they can go in later. (I woke up this morning though and realised that I'd completely forgotten to put slug pellets around the bean plants! I'll have to pop out later on when it's dried up a bit and just hope they're still there and not in some snail's belly...)

But I've come to realise that two really quite major things have happened since Sunday - I think it's probably more of a matter of perception within me than what's been happening at the allotment but, even so. Let me try to explain: putting the shed up and being able to use it properly since Sunday has made a big difference - I now feel that I actually own the land, it's a space that properly belongs to me now. I have somewhere to store my things, where I can sit in the shade. It all feels more permanent somehow - before it was just a plot of land that didn't really mean anything even though I've been working it for the last 3 months. I almost felt like a bit of a fraud and I shouldn't really be there - the shed has made a statement, it claims ownership. It denotes that I'm going to be here for a long time and I'm serious about it. I built the shed (well, not me, but you know what I mean), I cultivate the land - I have a place now and it feels like home. When I was doing my various archaeology degrees I was always interested in the Archaeology of Landscape and how the ancient mind related to ownership of space/land, what they did with it and how it was demarcated. Perhaps I should put up a (fake) burial mound on my boundaries.....

Secondly, bizarrely, putting up the bean canes has turned the site into A Proper Allotment. It looks like a real, grown-up one now, not just the results of me fannying around in the dirt hoping to get things right and praying that I wasn't making an idiot of myself and that people weren't laughing at me for getting it wrong. I mean, check out the pictures - the top one here shows, from the bottom of the picture, my little Raspberry bed, then on the right are two rows of Broad Beans, the dark square above them are the newly-watered rows of Spring Onion and Carrot seedlings and above them are my four rows of Onion sets. The light green 'row' next to them all running the width of the plot is actually my row of First Early Potatoes (the plants are actually in the row between the two boards) - yes, I know I need to weed it. Then there's the (weeded) row of Second Early Potatoes running the width. Next to that you can see the bean canes and, lastly, from the canes to the pathway is where the Red Cabbage and Brussels Sprouts are. It looks good, it looks right and I did it all. Yes, you may call me Mrs Smug.

This picture, taking from a slightly different angle, shows the shed in use! It also, unfortunately, shows how much is still left of the plot to be dug, weeded and cultivated. I'm going to try and get it all done this year - I still have Broccoli, Kale, Savoy Cabbage, Parsnip, Lettuce and Sweetcorn to go in yet! - but I also realise it might just be too big a job and it'll have to wait until next year. The remaining seedlings will just have to find a spot in and around what's already been done! The picture actually gives a distorted image - there's quite a lot of ground left to do, probably as much as I've already dug. But, hey, it's stopped raining so I may be there later...

1 comment:

  1. oh blimey you've had me laughing you sound just like me and your plotment looks at a similar stage to mine keep up the good work.



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