Thursday, 20 August 2009

The next step up towards self-reliance.

We've been lucky enough to be offered a private allotment on our landlady's agricultural land.

After dinner we went for a walk to see the new allotment. We were taken down to view it on Monday, and were given a key for the gate on Tuesday, so we went last night mostly to make sure the key worked. We're both really excited by this - the plot is 15 acres (although we're only looking at 1/2 acre at the front at the moment), and is covered in industrial greenhouses. When you go in and close the gate, the whole world is left behind: it's completely private. It was used to grow flowers for the dried flower industry, and tomatoes. It's been unused for 6 years aside from a paddock agisting horses and it's amazing how quickly it's become derelict and overgrown. A smallish patch has been ploughed for a test veg bed, with potential to dig up more as required: start small. We're going to expand the quantities of usual veg, broadbeans, courgette, brassicas, leeks, onions, garlic, potatoes, pumpkin etc etc, as well as try our hand at growing peanuts and a test bed of wheat. We're also going to renovate 1/4 of one of the greenhouses to start with, to prepare it for next year, at which time we plan to grow oka, aubergines, tomatoes and pineapple in it. That's going to be the big initial job because the outside has overgrown with brambles and some of the glass frames need replacing.

We're trying very hard to rein in our enthusiasm at the moment. We have Friday and Monday off this weekend, to make a long weekend and amongst other possibilities, had thought to go cycling in Wales. We're having to restrain ourselves from staying at home and spending the weekend working on the new allotment. There's a Bank Holiday next weekend, which makes it the perfect time to stay at home and work on it.

Did I mention that we're both excited? This gives us the chance to play smallholders and learn more without having to have bought the land. That means we can experiment a bit more than we otherwise would and decide whether it is actually for us. It's the next step towards increased self-reliance: a chance to move on and do this seriously, rather than dream and play a bit, which is what I've been doing with it for the last 12 years.

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