Big Plans For My Little Allotment

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Last weekend I enlisted the help of some – wood burner owning – friends and we took down the old – unproductive – apples trees on my plot. I was a big job that’s left me exhausted for a few days but I’m on the mend now and making plans.

Taking down the apple trees was a key part of Debbie and my objective for the winter, reducing our workload, eliminating a 20 minute a day chore of picking up thousands of windfall apples, chopping and composting them and their leaves and cutting the grass on my plot. twenty minutes might not sound like much, but add that to all of the other chores we’ve eliminated this winter and the total’s already well past an hour a day and that hour makes all the difference in summer/autumn. Add up all of those hours in a week and that’s a day off the plot every week to go hiking or cycling!

Clearing that area of my plot of trees, now allows me to create an extension to the roof of my shed, significantly increasing it’s water capturing potential, which is a major plus. It also creates a much bigger work area outside my shed.

The big bonus though is that I now have space for a polytunnel. Fitting it in only needs a little bit of rework to the existing beds and a few days hard graft digging out the stumps!

If the allotment committee are happy with my plans, then I will have space for a 10′ by 20′ tunnel, which will provide a cosy shelter for the family to gather, as well as lots of new all-year-round planting space, especially for taller plants that don’t work in my cold-frames.

I’ve still got a few decisions to make, do I buy a side vented tunnel, do I need two doors and should I fit gutters. I have plenty of time to mull this over.

If you are new to my allotment videos you might find a bit of context useful. We have three allotments in my family, mine (Steve), my wife’s (Debbie) and one of our daughter’s (Jennie). We also have a small kitchen garden at home. They are all managed in an integrated fashion, so don’t expect to see the usual mix of veg on each plot.

On Jennie’s plot for example we focus on potatoes, squash, alliums and brassicas. This video provides an overview https://youtu.be/q1k-2vIoSQ8. I do a monthly tour of each allotment, roughly one a week, you can find the tours here https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLFhKoRR-NiCJn5Y6rZf0RCCqycu3xvofX.

Our approach to allotment life is to: grow as much as we possibly can, to be self sufficient in veg all year round and in fruit in summer, to give away our huge surplus to friends and family, and to have as much fun as possible.

My wife and I spend about 4 hours a day, 4 days a week on the plots (on average) and we keep nudging that down as we eliminate non-productive work: like grass cutting, weeding and watering as much as practical. We are both newbie gardeners, only starting the allotments in 2016.

I’m a bit obsessive about the nutrient density of the veg that we grow and making the plots easy to work because it’s through this allotment lifestyle and food that I’ve overcome a debilitating auto-immune disease. I’m always aware though that it might not last so I make sure that I don’t work too hard, eat the most organic fruit and veg I can and design the plots so that I can still work them if I flare up again.

 

Steve Richards

I'm retired from work as a business and IT strategist. now I'm travelling, hiking, cycling, swimming, reading, gardening, learning, writing this blog and generally enjoying good times with friends and family

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