Back in June, after a long two year wait, I, along with three friends, became the proud custodian of an allotment. Based at St Anns Allotments in Nottingham, it is grade 2 listed, and part of the oldest and largest area of Victorian detached town gardens in the world, with the plots all still in their original 1830s layout. This give the plots a real charm and quirkiness, with many of them having their original brick buildings still in tact.
When we went to visit the site in order to choose our plot, all four of us instantly fell in love with Plot 80. It was massively overgrown, having been left unattended for a number of years, but had a ‘secret garden’ feel to it, and we could just about make out a couple of trees and a building through the brambles. So we signed up for it and a week later headed to the site for our initial recce. Upon second viewing it was rather daunting! The weeds seemed higher, the brambles spikier, and the task much more overwhelming.
But, undeterred, we returned, tools in hand, and set about the mammoth jobs of cutting down weeds, slicing through brambles (stopping to eat copious blackberries along the way), pulling up carpet (?!), unearthing a house-worth of bricks, and discovering an entire, fully grown plum tree in the process.
Almost three months on we are now at the point where Plot 80 looks like an allotment, albeit a rather wild one. The next job is to start planning for the following year, and experimenting with different techniques and practices – the first thing to try is green manure. As we chart our progress through every visit, even at this early stage in our journey, it is amazing to see how far we have come, gaining a friend in a sociable robin along the way.