Our poor allotment has been a little neglected since we got her, a combination of coming into winter and the passing of my FIL. We have not been up as much as I had initially planned. At this time of year there is not really much to do, unless you have a plot that needs some TLC and a shed that needs cleaning. And that is where we are.
In the betwixt of Christmas and New Year, (A) and I went to our plot for the first time in about 6 weeks which is against the allotment rules, so off to a flying start there! The point of the visit was to assess what we needed to do first and to actually checkout the condition of the beds since we had last been up.
To be honest it looked, from the outside, exactly that same as it had been on our previous visit, but the shed was a different matter. I discovered it was damp; the walls and the roof. Not soaking wet but individual planks were certainly damp.
Upon inspection of the outside, the shed is actually in need of repainting and the felt on the roof needs stretching back into place as is wrinkled.
I don’t think it is a good idea to paint it just now in the damp cold but at the same time, I am concerned that it will only get worse as the winter draws on… Having been assured that as long as there is no holes in the shed then it ought not to be a problem. Fine, I can hopefully wait until Spring to paint my shed (it needs a name, shed is such a dull word. Not exactly sure when I started calling sheds, a “shed” it was always referred to as a “hut” for as long as I can remember! Anyway…) and am thinking on painting it a bright sunny yellow. Upon checking the B&Q website, the best time to paint is after a dry spell, when the temperature is at least 10 degreesC and when there are dry days to follow, so no problem there, except I live in Scotland and that is a fairly specific criteria.
The “shed” was also in need of a good clean. So that was the first job on the list for our next visit. That and measuring the size of the beds and making a plan to grow some veggies.
Our first visit of 2017 was a damp dreich Saturday afternoon but thankfully it wasn’t cold, a rather mild 9 degreesC, so really didn’t need the hat and gloves and snow boots I was wearing (last time we came up it was freezing!!!).
And once I started emptying the shed, I was rather warm. After emptying everything out and giving it a thorough clean and sweep, to my horror, discovered a toaty wee hole in the back wall!!!! What now? Straight to Google once home – need wood filler – and checking the weather forecast for the next week. It’s meant to be dry from Tuesday onwards, yay, but only reaching max temperatures of 3 degreesC from Thursday; not exactly ideal painting conditions. I am really starting to worry about my shed. Interestingly though, I have a rather fetching ghost fork inside
Once the shed was cleaned, swept and stuff (tools, chairs and bits) put back, it was to the beds I turned. Time to measure these out and see exactly how space we have before deciding what and where to grow our grub. Luckily for us, the previous occupier of this plot had already split it into 4 beds : 2 under tarpaulin , one overgrown with some potatoes still in the earth (which we discovered the first day we put a spade in the ground last year) and one with canes and a tunnel (not sure what was grown here, but am thinking time will tell). There is also a long strip at the end of the plot with ample room for another bed, ideal probably for fruit bushes.
I was a bit surprised by the measurements and had to remeasure as I was writing them down, as I didn’t realise how big the plot actually is – it’s very deceptive, particularly the strip at the end, where (A) is standing. There are a number of tabs still in the earth along side the green netted tunnel, but the rain has washed off whatever was written on them. I may leave this bed to see if anything flourishes in the spring. In the back right corner of the same bed there is a weedy looking bush which looked like it had dead leaves clinging to it, but upon closer inspection, and the fragrance coming from it at said inspection revealed itself to be a Black Peppermint bush ( the tab from the garden centre was still in the ground and undamaged by the elements). I am now quite excited by this and wondering if there are more herbs in here under the “weeds”.
During our couple of hours here, my willing apprentice was less than willing as apparently cleaning and measuring are boring. “When can I plant seeds and make a scarecrow?” this is clearly more interesting and what he thought allotmenteering was going to be about. So instead, armed with my phone, he went about catching Pokemon. This love of Pokemon Go is far from over. It has gotten a lot of rolled eyes and sarky comments from people as it spawns an ever increasing number of zombies, eyes down/staring at phones, as they roam about catching cartoon characters on their phones. ( I know this as I am a sarky commenting eye roller who is sick to the back teeth and could not care less about which pokemon evolves into what and how much it’s worth). HOWEVER, it has been incredibly useful. I can get (A) to walk anywhere if there is a chance he will catch a Pokemon or hatch one of his eggs (all the eggs are hatched once 2/5/10km have been walked, and it doesn’t work in the car). So while I was working, he was walking up and down the centre of the allotments and very quickly worked out that if he walked the full length of the site, back and forth twice, then he would have walked 0.1km. He informed me that had walked 3.4km of his 5km egg so only had to walk another 1.6km to hatch it. A bit of mental arithmetic and he worked out that if he walked back and forth 32 times he would hatch his egg. Now when he comes out with maths like that, having worked it out himself, I am in no way going to complain about his love of games. This is a typical conversation for us as he regularly works out numbers/ distance/ timescales etc through skills he has picked up playing games. It’s fair to say that numbers are his thing. And it’s fun – he doesn’t see it as learning. With numbers coming fairly easily I thought telling the time would too. Not so much, it is going to take time to learn how to tell the time, even though he can work out timescales!
Feeling the smirry rain in the air and the dimishing afternoon light, it was time to pack up for now. We will be back next week and will grab armfuls of the millions of leaves that are lying on the footpath outside the site walls and place other over my beds as mulch – I love freebies. In the mean time I will be at the table, consulting my notes and the various library books I have borrowed, drawing up plans for what needs to happen next.
All I know is that right now, the only thing on my to do list is to put the kettle on.