Ah, my first post on our new blog! The last time we had an allotment (some ten years ago probably) I was mostly in it for sitting in the shed drinking Guinness. The fact the shed I built kept blowing over and could barely house a couple of spades, coupled with the fact that I don’t much care for Guinness possibly was a sign of the way things were going to go and in the end it was burnt down by other plot holders in some sort of wicker man type ritual. I imagine. These days the allotment seems a lot less like an old boys club, and more like a ‘have a go horticulturist’ adventure of discovery and excitement! We took on our last plot before Em turned pro with the gardening and all I really remember from that period is lots of back breaking digging. Digging and horseradish roots to be precise, never mind bindweed I’m sure horseradish is far more virulent a pest! Now that my wife is well experienced in organic/ minimum effort gardening she sold the idea of the new plot to me partly by emphasising the ‘no dig’ approach she now takes to horticulture. So far we have done some digging, but to be fair she tends to do the digging while I amble about making piles of rubbish, although slightly artistically, like I’m creating constellations of crud!
So yesterday I had my first go on the strimmer, which is probably the most unpleasant thing I’ve ever done whilst crushingly hung-over. My hands were throbbing, my ears were throbbing, and I found out pretty fast that I didn’t hold Em’s child-size strimmer correctly it could pretty quickly bring discomfort to parts of my body it would be inappropriate for me to name on a polite blog such as this. As I vibrated my way across the plot I initially aimed for the thickest and tallest patches of grass, this sums up my current ‘quick hit, quick satisfaction’ approach to gardening. Just as I was trying to perfect the ballet/ polka type hip swinging motion that Em told me was the way to strim, and just as I was burrrrrrrrrrrring through a particularly thick bit of bramble I noticed she who must be obeyed waving her arms at me and gesticulating wildly. Admittedly the sunglasses, mesh visor and earplugs were dulling my senses somewhat, but I’m pretty sure she was doing some sort of dance to demonstrate her enormous satisfaction with my work. After what seemed like a brief (but horrid) time my work was done, I was especially proud that I had the forethought to close the boot of the car before strimming that area of the plot, unfortunately I had neglected to move the bag of treats that Em used as the proverbial carrot on a stock. However, I was impressed at just how much grass and other assorted crud that I had managed to fill the bag with, Em was not.
So after a couple of hours this Sunday afternoon we had laid a shed base (well Em had really), we had cut out a plot for the Strawberries (we that was Em too actually). Well at least I had strimmed a lot, although it was pretty clear which side of the plot I had attacked, it was clearly the side that looked like it had been grazed by a toothless dinosaur, compared to Em’s side, which looked like it had been daintily and accurately nibbled by the sort of sheep that would live on a holy mountain.
Well at least I had got out and done something even, although spending the previous day at a punk festival had left me feeling less than effervescent! By late evening I had even got the feeling back in my hands!