Welcome to our plot!

I'm Hazel, and in Nov 2006 my friend Jane and I took on a half plot at Hill Allotments, Sutton Coldfield - we want the satisfaction of growing and eating our own fruit and veg, and to improve our diet (and fitness!).

This is the story of what happened next...........

Saturday, November 15, 2008

There's gold in them thar ... compost bins!

We’ve had fabulous fun at the Hill today – it’s been really mild today, although drizzly a bit later on, but surely that is why hats were invented.

I arrived at the Hill at much the same time as novice neighbour Jody – & I chatted to him whilst I barrowed some good strawy horse manure onto the other half of next year’s potato patch. He was only there for an hour or so, yet seemed to get more done that I do if I’ve been there for the whole day – how does that happen?

Reg-next-plot arrived soon after as I was pulling up some errant raspberry suckers – I was trying to work my way through to the first of the compost bins, curious as to how it was faring. This first bin has been full & covered for about 4 months, & I can see that it has reduced in volume by about a half.

Jane arrived & we tackled the bin together – removing one pallet side by cutting the wires attaching one to another, & having a poke around with a fork. I think that I was expecting the contents to look similar to when we put them in, but what a fabulous surprise!

The contents had become transformed from a whole heap of weeds, cuttings & green waste into the gardening equivalent of gold! I know that you read all the books & that is actually supposed to happen, but when you see it in action it really is quite amazing. Honestly, I could have wallowed in it, it was so fine!

I’m not altogether sure that Jane & E (who joined us for a spot of compost moving a spreading) shared my enthusiasm – which I found a bit odd, frankly – but I didn’t care! Proper allotment holders make compost, & we have made compost! Actually, as Jane did point out, all we had done was ignore it for four months, but I’m still taking some credit.

After all the excitement of spreading our very own compost around, we put the bin back together, & started the whole thing off all over again with a little off the top of the second overfull bin, which we covered up & waved our magic wand over, ready to uncover the booty in another few months.

We took a big bag of veg home each too – JERUSALEM ARTICHOKES, KALE (Sutherland), a portion of CALABRESE (waltham) & even a PARSNIP (tender & true) which had started to bolt.

All of these were fab – as I hope the Jerusalem artichoke wine will be which I’ve started off this evening…


  1. Pigletwillie calls the compost bins the powerhouse of the plot - and he's not far wrong!
    Spent an hour this aft digging my half plot and spreading some rotted cow manure - wonderful stuff. Off for a soak!

  2. We've just started a compost bin..Hope its as successful as yours ...I've not heard of artichoke wine ...Will have to google that for a recipe :O)


  3. PW is right on this, as ever, isn't he? Digging is always followed by a hot bath and a (cat!) nap round here - well deserved, I'd say!

    I can't recommend a compost bin highly enough, Dinzie! I put some horse manure in every now and again to help it along - not sure if you have easy access to it? Maybe you have plenty of sheep manure instead! :-)

    The artichoke wine looks vile at the mo (but all wine does at that 'crusty' stage!). I'll let you know how it progress...

  4. I can't understand why Jane didn't share your enthusiasm your compost looks like gold to us I hope ours comes out looking as good as that!We have ingnored ours, sorry, I mean looked after it really well, the same as you have.


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