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...........

Monday, September 20, 2010

Good Deeds All Round!

After a brilliant day out with mum on Saturday which involved kitchen shops, garden centres & a very fine Italian coffee shop called Corleone's, I was all set with a car full of pallets to go to the Hill on Sunday with my List reading:

- make compost bin
- weed neighbour Jody's plot
- dig up potatoes
- harvest courgette/runners/beans for seed etc

I haven't gone crackers with the item 'weed neighbour Jody's plot' - he was off this weekend doing the Great North Run in aid of the Birmingham Children's Hospital Children's Heart Appeal, as they did such a spiffing job with his young daughter when she was so poorly earlier this year. Helping to straighten his plot was the least I could do whilst he was going about this madness up in the frozen (actually, rainy) North.

As I was unloading the pallets from the car, Reg-next-plot came by, & as well as having an exchange of information on various plotholders, he helped me collect a big bucket of elderberries from the tree in the hedgerow between his & David-other-half's plot (3lb it turns out - exactly a batch of wine's worth!), told me to help myself to his runner beans & beetroot, & pulled me a swede.

Providing that you pass some sort of acceptability test (criteria known only to Reg), you wouldn't actually have to grow anything yourself - maybe one of the criteria is that you do grow things yourself.

After he'd gone & I'd wired together pallets to make a new & bigger compost big adjacent to the two existing ones, I had a brainwave which consisted of turning the contents of the 'nearly ready' bin (in actuality, still full of last years sweetcorn & sunflower stems along with nice composted stuff) into the new bin, then taking out the partition between the two older bins away giving me two big sized bins.

This was heavy going (understatement - there was much going-purple-in-the-face), & the photo reveals a certain crudeness of the project, but after an hour or so, I did achieve a functioning BIG two bin system.

If you want to see how clever beggars do a proper job of constructing compost bins, go up to the Bag End blog.

I christened the bin with a great deal of green stuff which had been growing round Jody's parsnips, but decided that virtue only went so far, after some tremendously sneaky nettles had stung me once too many times.

I cut courgettes, and a few tomatoes and a handful of raspberries, then dug up the eight main crop potatoes 'robinta'.

Whilst they rested on the soil to harden off the skins, I walked down to the bottom to go & pick John Badger's grapes from the greenhouse - he's offered the lot to me for wine making again this year, which is jolly d of him considering that we haven't seen what last year's tastes like yet.

Returning allotmenteer Christine was working hard next to JB's, & we had a lovely chat about all sorts before she sent me off with a bijou lunch-sized squash from her plot.

I went home with my haul & put JB's 5lb of grapes safely in the freezer - they will be added to the grapes from my vine in the Courtyard which are a week or two away from ripeness yet, for this year's wine making.


  1. If you think I'm clever then you have definitely been sampling too much of your own falling-down-water!

    There was nothing clever about the Bag End bins (I notice you linked to the tatty one for grass clippings, not the ones I sweated over for 2 days to get the ruddy things level! ha ha ha ha). As you have found out for yourself, whilst you get a great bin in the end, it's damn hard work getting there.

    Yours look fab., very well done :}

  2. One of the things I love about fruit and veg growing is how generous people are and how well the barter system still works. Me and Him-next-door recetly swapped some of my damsons for some if his pears.

  3. Er - you do stop & have a look at what you achieve every now and again, don't you, clever Hobbit?

    I just love the generosity too, Flum - haven't got bartering for JB or Rhubarb Brian's eggs sorted out yet though!

  4. Thanks Hazel.
    Yes I do but remember that wonderful blogging device called "selective photography". In other words, I select very carefully what bits of Bag End you get a glimpse of - and you don't see the MESS that is still to be tackled {grin}


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