The Allotment Diaries 2021: March

3 March Big Plans

Park in the Past is taking advantage of lockdown to carry out some landscaping work. You can see the difference between these two photos, the left-hand image taken by me in early September 2020, the right-hand image taken by Sarah S, on 27th February.

As I understand it, the plan is that a 3 metre soil bank will be formed along this boundary in the next few weeks, which will shield the allotments from public view, create our own micro-climate, and is where our community orchard will be planted.

I’m pleased to see all my cages are still in place (I knew they couldn’t possibly blow away), but I wish I’d asked Sarah to take a snap of my onions; I’ll have to assume they are still there as I can’t tell from this angle. We are still allowed on site to tend to our vegetable, but apparently the whole area where we park, and access our own footpath, is a sea of mud and riddled with potholes. But I’ve sown some seeds in the greenhouse so I’ll be ready to go as soon as it’s feasible.

28 March Planting the Community Orchard

Imagine mud so thick that it clings to your boots and doubles the size – and weight – of your feet. Mud so wet that if you stand still for more than a few seconds you literally cannot lift a foot out of the hole it’s made.

Imagine that it takes you one hour to dig a hole 18 inches square and 10 inches deep and all the time the rain is lashing down and you’re sinking deeper and deeper into the mud.

Imagine soil with so many stones in it that a spade will only go in an inch or so at a time and you can’t get enough purchase to use either of your feet to push the spade further. Imagine scrabbling on hands and knees to pick out flints. (That’s me, near the back of Picture 4, looking as though I’m about to head-butt a tree stake)

20 fruit trees supplied by Brymbo Heritage Orchard Project – labour provided by several muddy volunteers.


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The Allotment Diaries

Planning for 2021

This time last year, I was full of plans for my new allotment bed. I’d filled it, weeded it, and sowed a green manure crop of red clover, which looked amazing – apparently. I never saw it ‘in real life’ as Welsh lockdown rules meant no driving to take exercise, and plans had to be scrapped. I didn’t go back until late summer.

Fingers crossed things will be better for 2021 and these delayed plans will come to fruition.

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