Auntie G the Experimental Enthusiastic Beginner!
I took over 71A in July 2020. It is my first allotment and looking back at the pictures now even I am surprised I took on this daunting plot.
I thing one think Lockdown has taught me is to appreciate nature and balance in life. So here I am just sharing a little life project that is bringing me so much joy.
My 'lottie' journey started about 3 years ago when I helped my friend Rae out with the raised beds in her garden. I made loads of mistakes as well as growing some food. This encouraged me to start growing food in containers in my garden the following year, apart from tomato blight and forgetting to harvest stuff it went quite well. It also encouraged me to sign up for the waiting list for an allotment. 18 months later I had kinda given up hope when the email came - there were plots available.
Happily I arranged my appointment with Irene the allotment whisperer and 71A was the first of quite a few that she showed me. Irene asked me what I wanted out of the plot which struck me as a really odd question - "grow food?" But then it became apparent what kind of food - fruit trees - no I don't like fruit (or thought I didn't), my shakey answer was well tomatoes, salad, potatoes and vegetables. She showed me some more up together plots that needed less work for a first timer but my heart had gone to 71A. What was I thinking - it was a field for goodness sake? But it had been well looked after by the legendary Mr Scott and his family and I also rather loved the view and it was the nearest one to my house (6 mins brisk walk - which is good as I don't have a car).
As we chatted on I got a bit more assured of my vision which was no dig (keeping the soil structure intact), organic and creating a low maintenance allotment.
As I come up to my first 9 months I'm adding polyculture (so plants manage the pests) and moving towards some permaculture (plant once eat forever) spaces*. In April I was thrilled to be asked to give a talk on my progress (which I did today), and will be doing an update in July. When Irene asked me I did say - "but I am not an expert and don't actually know anything and all the things I'm experimenting with are from 18 months of watching YouTube videos". But she assured me as an enthusiastic beginner I had something to offer.
Since working on 71A I've also benefitted from great advice from my allotment friends. I arrive most days with a question for someone and have been thrilled with the warmth and sharing of experience and knowledge on our lovely site.
Here is my journey so far.
*Permaculture - there is a lot more to it than the description above but as only just starting researching that will do for now. :-)
In March I also started sowing and growing at home. I did rather overkill on the videos but if you would like to dip in and dip out this is what I was up to at home.