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...........

Sunday, March 01, 2009


I arrived at the Hill yesterday to some excellent news – Julie (2nd best plot) came down as I arrived to tell me that besides the bark chippings, there is an enormous heap of compost in the park free for the taking! Brilliant!

Even better, when her husband Phil arrived a short while later with a trailer full of it for her raised beds, he offered to fetch me a trailer full too on Sunday morning – how lovely is that!

In order to complete the paths, I laid down weed suppressant (£12.99 for a 25m roll from Wilko, which will be enough for all the paths as it’s wide enough to be cut in half) & then made a couple of journeys to the park to collect chippings. These are conifer chippings, from shredded Christmas trees – & of course they smell wonderful.

I managed to collect not quite enough chippings, so went back today for some more, & some for Potager Chrissie who has been busy with her raised beds too – we will be the most orderly allotment site in Birmingham if this carries on!

It was lovely to see indomitable Fran & Alan – a family crisis has meant it’s their first trip down of the year. The weather has bought more allotment holders out – besides Julie & family & Chrissie, novice neighbour Jody (digging his plot), Reg-next-plot (busy organising the potato-in-a-bag growing competition), Lionel-by-the-gate & new allotment holders Paul & Gill who have just taken over the front half of Lionel’s plot. It’s the most prominent plot on the site being opposite the gate – so no pressure there for the new ‘uns, then!

Whilst I waited for Phil & his trailer, I planted out the SHALLOTS (hative de niort) into bed a2, limed beds c1 & c2 (where the legumes will be this year) & pruned the gooseberry bushes – taking out about every other shoot in an attempt to make harvesting a rather less painful experience later in the year. I now look as though I have been in a fight with a roomful of kittens – it’s a job that leaves me scratched & bad-tempered.

No matter, because as I was clearing the cuttings up, Phil backed the trailed of compost up, & he & extremely helpful son K made short work of barrowing it on to beds b1 & b2. It looks pretty rich compost, & these beds are where the potatoes will be going – & incidentally are also the beds in most need of filling. Mind you, they are like a black hole & just ate up the full trailer load!

Then we all retired to the club house for sandwiches & drinks, & I called it a day, going home with a couple of parsnip (from Richard 3 plots down) & – appropriately on this St David’s day – a couple of LEEKS (mrs d) for tea.


  1. What a great community you have there ....It's a shame there are no allotments over here ...

    But it's very relaxing in our garden :O)

    We have bought some Gooseberries for the garden - no idea where they will fit in but we'll give them a go :O)


  2. Many hands, etc. It's amazing what people can achieve if they don't mind helping each other out!

  3. These are red dessert gooseberries, Dinzie - lovely but lethal to pick! I'm seriously thinking of hoofing them out for a thornless variety (assuming such a thing exists!)

    I quite agree about all helping out, Flum! We have a seed swap box in the communal shed too - I'm determined to get the more traditional gardeners at the Hill growing heritage beans and peas!

  4. Those paths look great!
    I tried to use bark chippings last year but didnt put any fabric under them in the hope they would be enough to stop the weeds on their own... They weren't now I'm having to rake them all up again and start again lol

  5. I always manage to come off the worse for wear when I prune gooseberries, blackberries or roses! I worry that my colleagues might think I have a problem....

  6. The good thing about your bark chipping paths, P&M, are that you can shovel them straight into the compost bin, so nothing wasted there!

    I've ceased to concern myself about what people think of me, Matron, although I do confine the more self-disfiguring tasks to when I'm not due to meet the Queen, or whathaveyou.... :)


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