Third birthday on the allotment

The second half-plot on the day we took it on

Three years ago to the day we took on our second half plot and, as you can see, it needed a little TLC.

Just the first layer of weed control mat – there was another layer of carper a few inches below it.

We cleared it by a repeated combination of strimming and flame gunning – it took several weeks to do, and although it wasn’t the greenest way of clearing it it was much more effective than weedkiller, and left no residue apart from the potash and phosphate from the ash.

Now, as it gets close to its finished form, we’ve spent most of the week getting ready for next season and digging out the new pond.

Right now it’s all pretty heavy work but all the major civil engineering jobs are linked and so it needs a bit of project management. By my rough calculation I’ve bagged about a ton of topsoil ready to complete the strawberry bed, and while I was digging Madame was pruning the cordon apples and clearing the fruit cage which is looking pretty end of season. All the while, in the background our incinerators were barely steaming but once you’ve got them going they’ll eat up barrow loads of the most noxious weeds like bindweed.

But is there a better feeling than nursing aching muscles and knowing that we’ve done a good job. Rather than write a long piece I thought I’d post a few photos of the road we’ve travelled – hopefully encouraging enough to get you past the despair of an apparently untameable new plot.

Author: Dave Pole

I've spent my life doing a lot of things, all of them interesting and many of them great fun. When most people see my CV they probably think I'm making things up because it includes being a rather bad welder and engineering dogsbody, a potter, a groundsman and bus driver. I taught in a prison and in one of those ghastly old mental institutions as an art therapist and I spent ten years as a community artist. I was one of the founding members of Spike Island, which began life as Artspace Bristol. ! wrote a column for Bristol Evening Post (I got sacked three times, in which I take some pride) and I worked in local and network radio and then finally became an Anglican parish priest for 25 years, retiring at 68 when I realised that the institutional church and me were on different paths. What interests me? It would be easier to list what doesn't, but I love cooking and baking with our home grown ingredients. I'm fascinated by botany and wildlife in general, and botanical illustration. We have a camper van that takes us to the wild places, we love walking, especially in the hills, and we take too many photographs. But what really animates me is the question "what does it mean to be human?". I've spent my life exploring it in every possible way and the answer is ..... well, today it's sitting in the van in the rain and looking across Ramsey Sound towards Ramsey Island. But it might as easily be digging potatoes or making pickle, singing or finding an orchid or just sitting. But it sure as hell doesn't mean getting a promotion, beasting your co-workers or being obsequious to power, which ensured that my rise to greatness in the Church of England flatlined 30 years ago after about 2 days. But I'm still here and still searching for that elusive sweet spot, and I don't have to please anyone any more. Over the last 50 or so years we've had a succession of gardens, some more like wildernesses when we were both working full-time, but now we're back in the game with our two allotments in Bath.

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