Wednesday, 23 May 2018

The First Wobble!!

Its only been just over 4 weeks since I got the keys to Plot No.5 but I have experienced my first allotment wobble!

I wanted to write this post to share as much realism as I can when taking on an allotment plot for the very first time, I'm singing Madonna's "Like a virgin" out loud to that sentence haha. 

Anyway as I was saying, there's the first steps of putting your name down on the waiting list, then there is the-what feels like FOREVER-wait to actually getting a chance to acquiring a plot and then finally that day arrives. You sign the dotted line skipping past all the small print (everyone does that right?), grab the keys with eager hands to get in and then you walk up and down the new plot fifty million times whilst chatting to yourself with lots of oooo'ing and aaaahh'ing over what could go where and how pretty its all going to look, BUT after a week or 2 of clearing out any of the rubbish and doing a nice bit of painting, there is something that just hits you. The reality of the graft becomes apparent.

I had 1 week away from the plot with my little boys birthday celebrations and a short illness but I was determined to get back to that plot to begin the work that was needed on it. What greeted me through that gate was the start of the wobble.

Now this isn't the greatest picture to really capture what my eyes saw but behind that ginormous fabulous rhubarb patch is just a huge mass of dandelions and grass. Like up to my hips grass (please bear in mind my 4"10 height!) My heart literally sank. I couldn't avert my eyes away from it because there was just another patch of grass whichever way I looked and it just made me want to cry! I just couldn't see how it is going to be managed and how it's ever going to become a productive plot. I questioned my capability of being able to take on this huge task, even though I wanted a challenge. Now if you follow me over on Instagram and saw my stories you will have seen my sad, overwhelmed mush seeking some reassurance. 

I was bowled over at how many people messaged and said you will be fine it just needs time and gave some great tips of doing it bit by bit. A lady at the site kindly reminded me that I have only had it a matter of weeks so it's going to be far from being perfectly maintained. Over the course of the day, after I came home from the plot the reassurance was helping kick the feelings of anxiety. It helped me regain some focus actually coming away as being there in that moment was becoming too much. 

The next day  I promised to go back up with a renewed positive outlook. After a little texting Mr.W at work telling him I really needed to trace some good materials to smother some of the plot he sent me the best reply he could. He happened to be stood by some huge boxes of super thick cardboard boxes and was going to run them up to the plot. I whipped the kids into a frenzy and headed straight up there to be start that process.

 Even though it was the same thing that waved at me when I walked through the gate I stared it down. Think of those intense cowboy scenes where they stare at each other for ages until one makes the first move and the other is taken down. Yes I am taking this plot down. It wont defeat me. Not for now at least. I am realistic enough to know there will always be weeds but when you are faced with them on a big scale it can make you feel like you are going to drown. I know its perfectly normal to feel this way too. At least for now the cardboard will suppress any more growth and allow me to work on a section at a time to get up and running and in my head its less shouty and panicky.

Something that I also found useful and again credit to those positive folk over on the social media platforms (Sara, Annabelle & Kimmy I am talking about you three!) was to look for the good stuff on the plot already. I have to admit I have been very fortunate with some of the established edible goodies that have been left on this plot. Rhubarb, Strawberries, Cherries, Figs and even Gooseberry bushes. That's before the other fruit trees reveal what they are too. Even if you think there is nothing I promise if you look close enough I am sure there will be something that will put a grin on your face.

That first wobble will teach you a lot no matter how soon it happens. At first you will panic then you might feel like throwing in the towel BUT It will make you a little more resilient and that bit more determined. It makes you stand up and grab the opportunity by the horns. Giving up won't reward you in the long run but holding on and working hard will. You get to put your stamp on a piece of land that will probably make you use a few choice words but make you feel amazing and you will be able to sit and admire it for all your hard work put into it especially with a nice hot cuppa (or a 'proper' beverage).

So there you have it my first encounter of an allotment wobble. Do not be put off in any way to taking on an allotment. There are so many benefits to having one and it wouldn't be fun if it didn't test you.

Until Next Time

You can see my first plot tour HERE on my Youtube channel

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Hello Plot No.5

Do you remember that feeling when you were a child and you were told you would be doing something exciting like attending a party, waiting for your birthday or even counting down to Christmas? (Oh my the C word in May!!), well that pretty much is how I have been feeling since I put my name down on 5 different allotment sites 2 years ago. I've watched my number moving slowly up the ranks from in the 30's wondering if it would ever happen UNTIL a chance chat with the chair lady at one of the local sites.

If you could have seen my face during this conversation you would have been equally excited. Even being told it needed a lot of work putting into it didn't deter my excitement. I then went up to see if I could vet the potential plot out and again I felt like a child peering through the tiniest of gaps in the gate. I could see a dream unfolding. I sent a little message to the lovely lady who invited me to go along and have a 'proper' look around (Sunday 22nd April). Well it felt like Christmas eve waiting to go the next day with butterflies building up. 
It arrived and the gate was opened and I was met with this..........................................

THREE sheds, a greenhouse, water butts, compost bins, a wheelbarrow, benches/chairs and stacks of reusable materials. The best part is the very long piece of land that I now get to call my own! Hello Plot No.5 (My lucky number what a coincindence!). What a beauty it is too. 

There is so much potential with this plot. It already has a few established fruit tree's on it along with a lovely little strawberry patch that needs freeing from the weeds and it also has the most amazing patches of rhubarb. I've been getting jealous lately over everyone's posts of their rhubarb crops dreaming of the day I get to share my own. Now I can, albeit with no effort required this year. Sorry to those whose crops are making them resort to Jedi mind tricks!! 

I don't have solid plans just yet for how I am going to turn this plot around into being a productive one but what I do know for definite is that it will be a good mix between crops and flowers more than likely in raised beds and hopefully in good time it will be home to some chickens. The family will also be contributing to creating a haven for us all to enjoy. The main priority now is to get in and give it a good tidy up, clear out as much of the weeds possible and get the sheds and greenhouse functioning well. The main one being the 'Tea Station' seems as though that's the one that is going to keep me and the family fuelled. Priorities right?!

I must say a really HUGE THANKYOU to all those who have spoken to me about it over on social media and have offered their advice already and I know I am in good hands if I get stuck. The allotment/gardening community is by far one of the friendliest, be that those you speak to in person or on these platforms.

If you would like to see the FIRST OFFICIAL TOUR you can head over to my YouTube Channel .

So there you have it, patience really is a virtue. Good things do come to those who wait, even if it is 2 years.

Until Next Time

Official Allotmenteer