Gardening, allotments and biodiversity

LA21 member David Askew is keen to share his experiences  on his allotment.  David suffered a serious injury a few years ago and is certain that the ability to garden, use his hands and grow and nurture plants has a had a beneficial and theraputic effect on him.

David is keen to share his experiences with interested members and those considering taking up an allotment.  Here is how David started on his allottment journey!

What is an Allotment?

In the UK, allotments are small parcels of land rented to individuals usually for the purpose of growing food crops. There is no set standard size but the most common plot is 10 rods, an ancient measurement equivalent to 302 square yards or 253 square metres.

I had my name down for an Allotment for years prompted by my brother who had one and said
it was jolly rewarding so it is something I have toyed with over the years and had a vegetable
patch in one of our family houses growing medical herbs Borage, Golden Rod which tasted
disgusting as a tea but with a little honey was palatable.

So having placed my name down I chased the chair up on a regular basis until one day I was
blown away as a plot had become vacant, I think that a lady already an avid Gardener put a
good word in for me which tipped the scales so to speak.

I was asked to meet Melissa on site and she would show me here the plot was, I was over the
moon to get a private plot but soon realised that I had some exceptionally hard work ahead of  me to convert this area which resembled the Borneo Jungle into something akin to a user  friendly space for vegetable cultivation.

So I needed tools it was soon evident that there was no way could I afford to buy a selection of tools as it was necessary to have a good cross section and as most were around the £20.00 area it could soon drift into the £100’s so being on benefits it was an issue, but not insurmountable as I have learnt to be resourceful over the years.

Now skips are on my radar and where I live people are always throwing things out which is an eyesore and really illegal fly tipping to be honest, but another man’s rubbish is another man’s gold and quite rightly so.

Being very practical I have boxes of home tools and soon out there dismantling beds and taking in bookshelves – all timber that is useful on the Allotment.

The local Hardware store also does rather well out of me as I bough treated lengths of various thicknesses to initially divide up the plot which amounts to 2.4 rods about 9.00 m long by 7.00 m wide.

I bought a composter from the council which stood me in good stead as there was a lot of rubbish some decomposable the remainder was taken countless times to the local recycling centre Cooch grass and bindweed many sacks, I have not sorted out an area for weeds to decompose that is on the back burner figuratively speaking.

One is allowed bonfires there but the wind has to be in the right direction as we are surrounded by residential properties.

More to follow and we will hopefully learn what David’s harvest has been this year!

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