First Steps on The New Allotment!

I had been reaching out to nearby councils for an allotment since summer. Although the waiting list was years long in my local council, I found plenty of allotments available in neighbouring Bexley. They offered a large plot to me in early autumn, but one bureaucratic problem after another kept postponing the day I’d receive my key. Soon enough we entered winter. Deepest darkest December that is. And finally… I received my key!

New allotment plot excited

I was so excited about my first proper visit to the allotment. Key in hand, I could now evaluate Plot 7 as a true tenant. And what a dreadful beast it was.

Let’s see

Vicious blackberry brambles arched their way all across the land. Thick-stemmed and well-established, they had been growing freely for the past two years. That’s when the last tenant gave up the allotment, and the land has been uncultivated ever since.

Which made me all the more excited! I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. I knew the impact would be swift and vast.

New allotment plot overgrown

Getting my keys in December actually proved handy because family had just arrived to visit me for the holidays. What a perfect chance to offer them the full “Christmas in London” experience. Allotment style.

That’s right — let’s get to work!

But first, how big is it?

The first step, of course, was to measure it. So prying apart scratchy and tough brambles, I painstakingly made my way along the perimeter. There were three corner posts by which to judge the area but one of them was missing. I have had to make a reasonable guess as to where the last corner is, but I’m sure the neighbouring plot-holders will make it more clear to me once they are back on their plots.

In any case, Plot 7 is a full-sized allotment plot. To use the traditional Anglo-Saxon system, it measures 10 poles. But I prefer to think of it as 250m² — the equivalent of a doubles tennis court.

New allotment plot survey

Total annihilation

Now came the fun bit. Full clearance. With sheers and secateurs in hand, the three of us cut and chopped our way into the thick of the brambles. We made two piles, one for green waste and one for all other waste. Both of these grew and grew until they were massive mounds. We even found the remains of a whole greenhouse stashed behind the shed.

New allotment plot clearance

Oh yes, and the shed! There was no way to access it when I first visited the plot. But now we had made our way right to it, releasing it from the strangling grasp of the blackberry brambles.

But what’s inside??

Lots of things! Tools, seed trays, landscaping fabric, cobwebs. Certainly, enough things to get me started (a spade), kindly left by the previous tenant. But the shed did need a thorough clean after being abandoned for two years. The woodlice had been happily munching away at the rickety shelves.

New allotment plot shed

Some results from the new allotment

Over two days of intensive clearance, the three of us managed to chop down most of the nasties. The full clearance roughly took 5 hours total. Just to mention, these chilly December days were the shortest of the year, so we really had to be out of there by sunset at 4pm.

The gnarly brambles stretching back and forth now lay on the mound to dry out. They had scratched us up and even broke my relatively new pair of shears. But the end result was fantastic!

Well and truly, the first steps on the allotment have been made. 👒

New allotment plot results

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