Now into my second year of allotmenteering, I thought I’d keep a visual record to keep track of the changes and happenings that occur throughout the year.
As a massive pond lover, one of my first jobs of last year was to build one of these watery nature holes. They’re excellent for encouraging allotment friendly wildlife including frogs, water boatmen and the species I’m always looking out for, newts. As the photos below prove, mine is looking a lot healthier now than at its inception.
They also make good watering holes for the local residents.
Sure enough as Spring finally sprung, my pond was blessed with frogspawn. This cheered me up no end as you can imagine.
The shed has done a very good job of sheltering me during the winter months. I had originally planned to make a shed using pallets, but I had to scrap this plan when I realised it would be a lot of effort for something that would probably fall down after the first gust of wind. I got as far as below, and now I have lots of slowly disintegrating pallets lying around. If you’re interested, make me an offer!
As I started to dig up the soil, I was always accompanied by a robin, who watched with beady eyes, hoping for a worm or two. Whenever I visit the allotment he always pops out to keep me company. I hope to get him tame enough to feed from my own hand one day. We shall see…
I’ve tried to keep the shed tidy, by installing some tool holders and a shelving unit. And as I always say, a clean shed is a dream shed. Actually I’ve never said that, but will try and use that phrase more often, as it really is very catchy.
I’ve also made a kitchen area for a brew and fry up if the need takes me, and believe me, that need is always taking me. It may not be visually pleasing, it may not reach even the minimum hygiene standards required to avoid severe food poisoning, but after a few hours of digging and weeding, it does the job perfectly.
As a keen bird watcher (not quite twitcher yet, but I can already sense I’m on that slippery slope down into feathered insanity) I bought a bird box and feeder for the locals. The box has been colonised by some blue tits and Mr Robin has been enjoying the free peanuts on offer, when he’s not ripping a worm to shreds.
Speaking of Mr Robin, here he is watching me from my fork. Sometimes I imagine he’s talking to me, usually bossing me around, but sometimes there are words of encouragement. Yes, the mind can do strange things when you spend most of your days with only birds for company. The other day I found myself talking to a rake.
Sadly the frogspawn seems to have vanished for some reason, and the water in the pond has become a bit murky. I’ve looked into the possible culprits, and it’s quite possible a duck flew down and took it away. Bloody ducks. But as there is no real evidence I can’t take my case against them any further. On the plus side I did see a frog in there recently, so hopefully there will be more slimy bundles of joy on the way.
Another strange and disturbing thing has happened. Some of the heads of the tulips have been removed. I initially thought it was some kind of flower loving bird or fox, but having spoken to the site manager (Ian Dury), he suspects they were most likely cut off by someone at the allotment. This is disappointing news to hear, as I thought everyone on the allotment would be on the same wavelength as me, and understand that stealing other people’s flowers is just not cricket. Unfortunately this does not seem to be the case. The manager mentioned some kids have been picking flowers on site, and he will have a word with the other plot holders to see what’s been going on. Utter bastards. I’m not a violent man, but I can only be pushed so far.
In preparation for summer I have invested in some seed trays to get some of the more delicate plants started, including cucumbers, aubergines and tomatoes. You need to keep them covered so the condensation keeps the soil damp which enables the seeds to germinate. These seem to be sweating up a storm.
I’ve managed to dig over most of the plot, expanding it further than before and have put a few spuds and onions in the ground already. Once the seedlings get big enough I’ll transplant them outdoors, but for now they are safest underneath their plastic shrouds. Stay tuned for more fascinating updates from Wolves Lane Allotment.