The Garden Allotment Blog

They came... and they came.... and they came.... about twenty people all told, though not all at once. Their ages ranged from senior to pre-school, they brought tools and energy, and got stuck in with amazing enthusiasm, good will and spirit of co-operation.

1) THE BIG DIG
3rd April 2011 (Dark moon, good for clearing space)

Yesterday was the Big Dig, planned by Transition Tufnell Park to transform my overgrown garden into a food-producing allotment.

They came… and they came…. and they came…. about twenty people all told, though not all at once. Their ages ranged from senior to pre-school, they brought tools and energy, and got stuck in with amazing enthusiasm, good will and spirit of co-operation.

Their energy turned up lots of stuff – the predictable, like convolvulus and bramble roots, and bluebell bulbs – Spanish hybrids, unfortunately; various plastic objects, some recognizable; lots of clothes pegs, some reclaimable for use; some tea-lights, ditto; one 20th century teaspoon, ditto; a few frogs. There were also some surprises: one ornate 19th-Century hinge, much corroded; some bits of decorative pottery and tiles, probably Victorian; the base of an Anderson shelter, Circa W War 2…. It reinforced my sense of the history of this house, which has been here over 100 years. We have lived in it for just over 20.

My role was to dispense soup and cake as required, and to make certain decisions. Cut down the old plum tree? No, no … oh all right, then, yes, given that its trunk was demonstrably rotten. It eventually came down with a crack that reconciled me to saying goodbye to it. But get rid of my revolving circular clothes dryer? No, no, a thousand times no.

Soil was dug, plants pruned back, seven bags filled with plant stuff for recycling, and more with builders’ rubble, in amazing quantities. Jugs of Pimms and cups of tea were drunk, and much chat and community bonding went on. It was amazing! I was thrilled and the space was transformed.

My 3 semi-feral cats were a little put our when everyone had gone and they came back to inspect the work; but fefore long they were chasing each other all over it and rolling in the newly-dug soil with great glee.

2)THE BIG PLANT 11th April 2011 Waxing moon

Stage 2 of the allotment project, and I would not be there! I left it all in the capable hands of Siggy and Rose. When I came home I was amazed. Rows of beans of two different kinds, purple sprouting broccoli, seed drills with various veg from carrots to chard, a whole bed said to be sown with salad greens, plants for peppers and courgettes – it was and is amazing. All I have to do now is to keep watering and weeding – and devise a way to stop the cats from chasing each other all over the seed beds! Fortunately they like the new paths which were laid with bricks on Saturday.

The whole process has attracted the interest of neighbours, and I hope that it will help to spread the word about the Transition movement and our objectives.

I was just about to start watering with the new hosepipe this evening when it rained, although not very heavily. Praying for rain, anybody?

Thanks to everybody who came and helped. I hope to keep this blog updated, with news of when the first green shoots appear and so on. Watch this space!

12th April 2011

The recycling people have just taken away another 5 bags of vegetable matter, left over from Saturday! Anything dug up from now on should really go on my compost heap, but at the moment I can’t get near it because of a huge bag of compost that Rose organised to be brought round from Yerbury. We shall be using that for mulching when the shoots start to show.

The plants look very happy for last night’s shower, but no bean shoots showing yet.

13th April 2011

No more rain, so I use the hosepipe for the first time. It is harder than it looks! Afraid I might have shot some of the seeds out of the ground with too strong a jet…. I can see what looks like a couple of parsnip heads showing above the soil, but not where the parsnips were planted. Perhaps the cats’ antics have shifted some of the seeds. They have flattened a couple of the onion sets, but these plants are tough.

How do you stop a cat, or four, from rolling around on seed drills? Watering said drills does not deter them in the least!

Penny