Prepping for Inspection

Today was a day of two visits to the allotment. With the Town Clerk coming to the site tomorrow morning, it was time to make sure the plot was respectable. Upon my arrival I said hello to Phil briefly before opening up the shed. As I am led down the plot, working out my plan of action, I spotted Derek walking towards the back of Liz and Sarah’s plots. We had a long chat about various site matters and drew up a list of agenda items for the next meeting. As we walked around the plot, Cliff caught us to proudly tell us he had caught the rat in the new coop! Apparently it was a whopper! I’m not surprised – the burrow in the coop was a good indicator of how big it was! Congratulating and thanking Cliff for his hard work, I breathed a sigh of relief that, for now at least, Gordon and his gang were safe.

Leaving Derek to do something productive on his plot, I fed Flora and Leia in the greenhouse. The way Flora throws herself at the food bowl makes you think she is starved. She hogs the bowl and won’t let Leia anywhere near it until her crop is absolutely crammed full of food. Poor Leia struggles to get any of the sunflower seeds. I suspect I may have to hand feeder to give her a chance to have some!

Noticing the weeds growing, I decided the best bet would be to hoe the beds rather than dig them. Digging would invariably mean I would definitely lose one welly, possibly both, in the quagmire which is the plot. The WolfGartern soil miller is amazing and has to be the best tool I have ever bought. Within half an hour, I had gone over all but three of the beds. Pleased with my progress, I stopped to have a chat with Cliff, Geoff and Michael. It is always fascinating, if somewhat demoralising, when the talk turns to how much things used to cost. Especially when it comes to houses! But such is life!

Leaving them before I ended up crying at the thought of buying a house for a mere four figures, I checked on all the other chickens. In the Omlet, Roxy was busy settling into the nest and gave me death stares for disturbing her when she was trying to lay. Beating a hasty retreat, apologising profusely, I left her to it and headed home for lunch.

Late afternoon, I dragged my husband down to the plot to help me with some jobs. The main coop defenses against the blasted sparrows appeared to have a chink in its armour and I needed someone suitably tall to adjust and fix several small bits of netting into place. Aided in this task by clear directions and supply if cable ties, this task was completed quickly. We then checked inside the coop and filled a few potential gaps with yet more netting in the hopes we finally stop the sparrow invasion once and for all.

Before I let my husband escape, I roped him into lugging the chicken run to the back of the plot and move the quail run (not only an awkward shape but insanely heavy to lift). With an extra pair of hands, we also covered the compost heap behind the fruit section with a canvas. The idea is that the compost will rot down over the next few months, leaving a raised bed ready for planting new fruit bushes. All without having to pay a fortune for compost or top soil. Well, that’s the theory. There is plenty that could go wrong with this plan! As my husband left, I gave him three bags of rubbish to take home so that the plot was clear. A other day I need to go through all our pots and storage boxes in the shed to clear out more rubbish. But for now, the plot was clear.

My final job was to prune some branches from the Braeburn tree which has a tendency to overhang into Mick the Greek’s plot. I removed as many overhanging branches as possible and for good measure, I hacked away at the blackcurrant bush to make sure it wasn’t invading his plot either. I don’t like pruning but once I get going, I get on a roll. To this end, I chopped the self-seeded buddleia in the wildflower bed and trimmed the plot side of the willow arch.

Finally, as it began to get dusky, I used the soil miller on two of the three remaining beds. The last bed requires some serious work and, ever the procrastinator, I chose to leave it for tomorrow. Overall, the plot is now tidy and ready to go for the new growing season.

There are several jobs I need to do which include painting the Nest House and installing the guttering for it, repainting the hedgehog house as well as relocating it and planting the new pear tree which I bought ages ago and that has never yet made it to the allotment!


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