Allotment Diary – Whitehall, Winter Greens and Worms!

It’s all too wonderful. My nails are dirty, my hair is windswept, my trousers are muddy and I am so peaceful.

I’ve had a huge project on at work this week, so have put my 21 days on hold for a bit, but I still make sure I get at least a half hour of gardening in everyday.

Where I usually let my morning job creep all over my afternoons, I now have a gorgeous grubby incentive (and renewed ability) to be sharp and efficient at getting my tasks done with enough time to run out to play in my allotment before it gets dark. I suddenly have a project, a focus, and a space to enjoy the great autumn outdoors, and I absolutely love it. I realise it’s early days, and it isn’t the freezing depth of winter yet, but so far it has been very good for me and my many mental misadventures.

The highlight of this week was a chat with my landlord about the space available, and I now have another proper plot next to my little muddy corner! So the real plot will be for the serious work of vegetable crops, and my 3m square corner can be my tiny flower garden!

After the inspiration of Lowden Garden Centre last week, my love had to go to Chippenham so I asked to be dropped off at the horticultural wonderland that is Whitehall Garden Centre so I could spend a good couple of hours there. I learned an important lesson about places to avoid at half term before Christmas when I found myself following crowds of delighted children through a glittery dark labyrinth of baubles and bells before I found a door to the actual garden bit outside. It was honestly a bit too overwhelming. I could have spent a thousand pounds on autumn shrubs, flowers and ornaments and not even filled my 3m space. But my careful restraint (and limited budget) allowed only a handful of pansies and polyanthus. I couldn’t even find an allotment section, so no more seeds, but still plenty to get on with.

In just one week I have managed the following:

  • Dug over and levelled the corner plot, piling up the spare soil on one side to form a rockery with some of the many slabs of stone around the site.
  • Rolled over some huge logs from a felled tree to provide raised surfaces along the other wall
  • Planted some snowdrop bulbs
  • Planted my tiny tiny Lettuce seeds in a tray that I’m allowed to keep in the greenhouse until they’re ready to plant out
  • Started digging the edges of what will be my 5m veg plot
  • Relocated several immense worms to protect them from my relentless digging
  • Recieved a massive marrow from one of my plot mates (the allotment currency that I look forward to contributing to) which my love made into a delicious dinner.

As I write this my phone pings with the many discussions about our new Lockdown that has just been announced. The country heads into a very dark and uncertain place. I have had one wave of fear, but it hasn’t manifested into the usual anxious symptoms, and I’m going to credit my relative calm to a week of daily allotmenteering. I don’t know what November holds, for me and millions of others, but I am so grateful for my little patch of soil which right now absorbs all my spare thoughts.

Thank you

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