Reclaiming the Wilderness

A combination of ill health and pandemic lockdowns (with signage on the allotment gates telling us to “stay home” at one point) meant that my allotment didn’t get much attention over the last year. As a result, there was a lot of wilderness to reclaim in order to get the allotment back up to the standard expected by the council, and (of course) to enable us to get growing again!

While the raised beds are generally “no dig” (with the exception of removing & replacing the soil next time), the rest of the plot gets dug over on a regular basis.

Somewhere amongst the grass, are two raised beds. The one on the left holds my fancy strawberries, and the one on the right used to have about 30 strawberry plants growing in there, but last year I think there were only one or two remaining. The plan is to remove and replace the soil from that raised bed later this year, then plant some fresh strawberry plants and hope they are more succcessful!

The blackberry looks quite happy, even though its ‘feet’ are surrounded by grass. The stems that bore the fruit last year have been cut off, and last year’s new growth will be where this year’s fruit appears. I do still need to get my “gripple hooks” attached to the supports, as the wires and vine eyes I’m using at the moment are pretty loose and impossible to tighten enough.

These are the most established of my three Blackcurrant bushes. I think they could do with some compost, manure or just a good watered feed this year though, as they haven’t had any special attention for a while.

Believe it or not, this is my flower bed. I’ve usually got a wild Teasel growing on the edge of the section, but it looks like it might not have self seeded last year.

The gooseberry was a freebie from a fellow allotment plot holder. I had no idea how to grow a gooseberry plant, so I just put it in the ground and hoped for the best! A little research later (apparently they also don’t like their “feet” surrounded by weeds or grass) and as long as we’re quick enough at picking them before the wildlife get the idea, there’s plenty of tasty gooseberries from this bush.

Behind the chair (which I admit is just a dumping ground for spare pieces of netting / twine – it’s never been sat on!), I’d planted three different types of mint. I’m not sure how many are still there, but there’s a distinctly minty smell around here. so there must be at least one!

It’s never helpful when the grass is as tall as the raspberries. These raspberries were cut to ground level in March (normally we’d cut them back to ground level in October after they’ve finished fruiting), so it’ll be interesting to see how well they fruit this year.

This is my other strawberry raised bed, obviously after we’d had a thorough attempt at weeding. I’m pleasantly surprised how healthy these strawberries are looking, especially when you consider how much grass there was trying to take over.

Nothing much at the moment, but I’m hoping this will be my sprout patch this year.

And just a few Rosemary flowers to finish – I hadn’t realised Rosemary had such pretty looking flowers.