2020 The first 4 months
These are pictures of the first year 7 July to 1 October 2020.
I was thrilled to be asked to give a talk at the lottie in May 2021 especially for first time allotmenteers, who, like me, might be doing it on a shoestring and taking over quite a daunting plot. So here is how I did it, and what I invested in, and hopefully shows fellow newbees it is possible folks!
My first expense was the scaff boards (10 6ft planks £120). I had thought I would terrace the plot, then I looked up on YouTube (my gardening university) and realised that would be a dig too far as I'm not really DIY experienced and didn't have anyone that I could ask to do a job like that for free as a mate. Although that was quite an expense I would do the same again as they have proven so useful in so many ways and I have snaffled some of them for a garden project at home - and it was just really wonderful to have them as a resource especially when I want to do projects and I am not 'holding folding".
Next was was asking the wonderful Alisdair the scythe to cut down the unwieldy vegetation. I had tried for a couple of hours with a pair of shears on the hottest day of the year and made no dent in it bar about a meter square to sit on. He did an amazing job and the plot started to look possible.
As a freelancer my income can be a little "feast or famine". In this part of lockdown my income was a little faminey. Proper weed surpressing membrane was not affordable at the time (since found it at certain times in Alid and Liddle which was a game changer in 2021. However, back in August my funds ran to two huge semi light permiable tarps at £7 each. The plan (and successfully executed) was to collect cardboard from neighbours and local shops and gradually work my way up the plot.
Everyone was really helpful and by the middle of September I had got around the first third of the allotment covered.
Then was the next investment of a ton of rotted Cow Manure from Pete the Manure. This was around £40 or £50 I think and it meant I could lay down the first two beds. I then ordered another 1.5 tonnes which sit on the top end of the site till I resumed at the plot in March 2021. I also covered the next topper end (under the green tarp) with cardboard.
What I wished I had done differently was to give the beds an extra covering of cardboard on the top just for a little extra light suppression for the weeds.
Also I had no idea that there were more things I could be doing October to the planting season from Feb so that is certainly something I'll be paying attention to in 2021.
I then left my little 71A till March 2021.