On my third day of working on the allotment I asked for helpers to come along to the plot to help out and drink some alcohol with a facebook event. We had a shaky start as one of our helpers had previously hurt his shoulder and was therefore mostly supervising but we didn’t mind.
The first problem I encountered while on the plot was a lack of access to our tools storage box. The box was a gift from our wonderful friend Wayne, so it was brand new but the padlock we used was also new and desperately needed oiling. I waited for Alan and Killian to arrive with the oil but they were not due to land for an hour or so.
In the meantime, I began work on the vertical growing fence.
This fence is constructed out of plastic 2L bottles and twine. I have started from the one end of my plot where the seating will be, so that the first area covered will provide some privacy. I am told that particularly in winter time the fence along the side of my plot is very see through as the plant life dies off. My plot is immediately next to the park, so it’s important to me to have some kind of barrier between us. I am thinking about planting lettuces in this plastic bottle wall next spring if not sooner as they don’t mind the shady bits under the trees.
The aim is to create a “Lettuce Hedge” across the plot which would take little to no space and produce more lettuce than we know what to do with. For now we are building it little by little with whatever 2L bottles we can get our hands on. I will produce a quick guide for building a vertical garden like this so stay tuned.
We then got to work clearing the last third of the plot of brambles including the mound at the back. As it turns out, there is lots of rubbish and stones all over the plot we need to deal with before we break our tools trying to dig. In this picture you can see our good friend Dean working hard scraping up the loose brambles and plants into piles (or rows as he decided).
We then borrowed Alan’s wheelbarrow for the day and began collecting pebbles of all sizes and poured them into a pile at the end of the plot. We don’t want these pebbles in our way on the allotment – some of them are quite large! However, we can reuse these later underneath our polytunnel/aquaponics system. I’ll tell you more about this later though so stay tuned to find out what happens to these pebbles.
According to the allotment council, the plot has been sneakily used as a dump site for trash, weeds and gone over crops for many years now and several allotmenteers have had to be told off about it. Hopefully now we are working on this plot they will stop but in the meantime that still means an awful lot of rubbish and dangerous items to be cleared off the plot! I got to work collecting buried plastic carrier bags, bottles, broken shards of glass, bricks, concrete, plastic and twisted metal to name just a few little surprises on the plot. There is still plenty more to be done however, so we will have to continue this another day!
A BIG thank you to everyone who turned up to offer a helping hand or donated materials or gifts to the project.