Sunday, November 19, 2006

Expanding rapidly

I made my first foray into the second half of the allotment today, taking the turf off the first set of what will be raised beds in time. It's quite a big moment for me - I'd got used to having half an allotment, and though I took on the second half last winter (partly to stop my neighbours snaffling it!) I've kept it as grass all this year.

Now, however, it's time to put it to work. I've stripped turf off two beds either side of the greenhouse - one for blackberries, the other for currant bushes - and then continued into the second half by marking out my first block of four 4ft x 11ft beds. There will eventually be two of these blocks plus another fruit bed for raspberries and some spare room - at the moment I have an idea I might be able to fit some fruit trees in, but we'll see - that's a long time off!

I've been taking it this slowly quite deliberately. I was given the excellent advice that more people are put off allotmenting by trying to get it all ready to cultivate in their first season - ending up broken-backed, disillusioned and generally fed up.

Instead, I've just gone at the pace that fits my restricted amount of time and energy, without getting too stressed out about having big bits of the plot out of action. I had just a quarter of the allotment dug over in my first season; last season the whole of the first half was productive, and next season, which will be my third, I'll have three-quarters of it up and running. I'm not in the slightest bit bothered that it will have taken me pretty much five years to get it going at full steam: this is what I can cope with right now, so that's all I'll do!

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