What’s it all about?

Having mooched around for a while looking at various spare plots, here’s a photo of the allotment I settled on in January 2006 (click to enlarge). Certainly didn’t pick it for tidiness. Some time since it was last tilled; it was rough pasture.

Like many allotment sites, the plots at the Hill Rise site had fallen into disuse through the 1980s and 1990s and renewed interest was just building up. I picked my site because it had enthusiastic occupants surrounding it.

Within a month I was off and running and heading confidently for spring, raised beds installed. That really helped. I focused on digging one bed at a time.

Later took on an additional plot on the back of my first, ditched the raised beds, built a shed, built a chicken run and coop and acquired some chickens and a mad cockerel, put up a greenhouse and a tree house for the grandchildren, put up a polytunnel and dug a pond. See progress photos at the foot of this page.

Next reduced back down to one plot, before finally giving up on Hill Rise Allotments and the heavy clay soil and decamping to the bowls club (see Bowling for Gold for the ups and downs of my latest passion) and a plot there (oops... make that two plots!) with beautiful alluvial soil.

About the same time I started allotment gardening, also got interested in blogging. Seemed appropriate to record progress on my plot using a blog. It developed to be this web site, through which like minded people can access guides and read what I've learned from hard experience. And it started a passion for blogging. Particularly in winter months, my blogs give me a chance to write about general topics of interest and personal opinion. You can access some of my other web sites by clicking a link under 'Further reading' on the right.

Every spring I sally forth with absolute confidence that everything planted will grow into a specimen to be admired. Every autumn I used to wonder what went wrong. Over the years the mistakes have reduced as I've learned what works. Hope my experiences at least make you smile, and hopefully help you along the way to your own successes by not repeating the same mistakes I make. At least it (mostly) keeps me out of trouble.

Jan 2006 - Raised beds & chicken wire fence being installed 

March 2006 - Removing the old carpet & the rubbish was tough

May 2006 - £99 shed & compost bins added

August 2007 - Built my own larger shed

March 2008 - Staking out the additional plot

May 2008 - Chicken coop & run added

December 2008 - Up goes a greenhouse

July 2009 - Can never keep up with weeding

August 2009 - The girls at home in the coop

April 2010 - Grandchildren get a tree house

June 2010 - Construction of the polytunnel

November 2010 - Clay lined pond dug

September 2011 - Pond really developed

December 2012 - Just one of the wonderful Hill Rise sunsets

December 2013 - Back down to just one plot

July 2014 - And a smaller new pond

October 2014 - New plot at St Ives Bowls Club

January 2015 - Almost all dug over... alluvial soil fabulous

February 2015 - Can't help myself... another plot taken on

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