A Finished Allotment? – Plot 1

Ok, so maybe the title of this blog is a little misleading as i doubt an allotment plot can ever be finished but, excitingly, after 3 years we have finished putting the structure of our first plot together! And what a lovely weekend to finish it! It was so lovely and sunny this weekend that you could almost imagine it was summer!

So a history of plot 1…

When we got the allotment plot in May 2013, we just concentrated on getting as many plants into the ground and didn’t really think much about the structure of the plot and how we wanted the allotment to be. We essentially had a blank canvas to work with and with little or no research on our part we just started willy nilly putting plants into the ground.

allotment1
Our allotment was a blank canvas. The first thing we did was to dig trenches for potatoes (far right ).

Realising that I hadn’t really though much about structures and plans I set about trying to draw up some plans that incorporated what we had already done. The original plans include 4 very large beds with a greenhouse at the back. We did actually manage to get a greenhouse for free on Freecycle and we managed to put it up without too many problem – just a few broken panes of glass!

Having dug over two of the four beds, I had done some further research and decided that raised beds were the way forward for our plot and also decided that they should be a much more manageable size of 8′ x 4′ so it would be easier for us to be able to reach into the middle without having to step on the soil and compact it.

I made these changes to the plans about July/August so decided to work from the back of the plot first so the crops could finish cropping at the front of the plot. We went to work marking out where the first raised beds would go. I had seen an interesting idea on pinterest using wine bottles as a way to build raised beds. So i decided to start collecting wine bottles to do this! 100 bottles of wine and some hungover colleagues later… i had enough bottles to build to two beds.

DSCF9110
One of the raised beds out of wine bottles!

I soon realised, after bashing so many wine bottles into the ground, that as much as i liked this idea maybe using bottles for all my raised beds was probably not such a good idea (and I think I was endangering my colleagues livers)! So this idea was abandoned for traditional wooden raised beds!

Unfortunately, some severe winds in the winter of that year, crushed our greenhouse to a pulp! There was broken shards of glass and twisted metal all over the allotment! So that was the end of our go at having a greenhouse! It was removed from the plan!

Starting in Spring 2014, I finally had a solid plan – all raised beds with three very deep raised beds for parsnips and carrots! The greenhouse was replaced with a small gooseberry bed and a seating area to one side. We were also going to put some small raised beds at the back fence for peas and/or flowers.

We appropriated a large crate from our work which became our first deep raised bed for carrots! We were also given some salvaged wooden doors from friends who were giving up their allotment plot and two of these doors were used to make the second raised bed for parsnips!

From here, our raised bed design started to take shape and by the end of the 2014 all but three beds were built. Most of 2015 found us focusing on plot 2 but we attacked plot 1 with renewed vigour at the start of this year. After winning a fruit cage from Grow Your Own magazine, we decided to expand the gooseberry bed and added a blueberry bed next to it. The fruit cage is easily put up and taken down every year and is stored in the shed over winter so will go up over the fruit bed in the next couple of weeks!

The first raised bed survived two seasons before rotting away, so with heavy hearts, this was taken apart a couple of months ago and put on the bonfire pile! We have decided not to replace it with anything but have instead increase the size of our seating area!

 This last weekend we really worked hard to get the raised beds finished! We used a broken bookcase as a raised seed bed which we dug in on Saturday and finally, we built the last deep raised bed, with the last of the old doors – 2 years after we got them! A job that has been on my to do list since 2014 can now finally be ticked off!

All the carpet and weed control membrane has been laid down around the beds and bark chip has been laid on top of that! We have refreshed the bark chip over the whole of the plot and I have to say I think the plot looks good!

So I am going to stop waffling on now and show you the photos of my ‘finished’ plot!

There are still a few things that I would like to do including painting the shed and getting some much needed colour into the plot in the form of flowers! I would also like to install a better water butt system but for now I can just sit back, enjoy my achievements, and just get on with the actual gardening!

I almost can’t believe the difference!

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4 thoughts on “A Finished Allotment? – Plot 1

  1. What a fantastic achievement and a great example of reusing and repurposing – I’ll never look at a bookcase in the same way! Now you’ll have time to use the bench as you sit and survey your ‘estate’ 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So pleased to see our skip diving yielded such useful wood, glad we were able to help you build sturdy beds 🙂 the work you’ve done is amazing, puts ours to shame, hence why we gave up. Just one comment, we often found that wood used for indoor furniture was usually not treated and didnt last long outdoors, do you hope your seed bed bookcase (which is an ingenious idea!) will last a good few years? Amazing job, keep up the good work!

    Liked by 1 person

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