I blog therefore I dig.
October and November are not the most obvious months to be out on an allotment garden. The air is heavy with moisture, the skies are changeable shades of grey and the only colours to be seen are jaundiced yellow leaves that catch the frequent gusts and stick moistly to my overcoat. Everything living is receding for the winter (including myself, as I re-discover the concealed efficacy of silk long-johns on cold winter days) and vegetation is dying back. But, we have been given the opportunity to work on a slice of a community plot (and thereby keep ourselves busy while we join the end of a very long waiting list for a full sized plot of our own) and the ever shortening days are potentially a very sensible time to start working.
The allotments we’ve joined are heavily oversubscribed for a reason. Surrounded by a beautiful city park, they sit on top of a hill from which Mary Queen of Scots observed her army’s defeat at the Battle of Langside in 1568. It is an idyllic urban location, with good sunlight, plentiful shelter from the trees that surround the site and only modest incursions from the rabbits that gambol about in the park. Slugs are apparently a problem, but with the naïevity of someone who has never lunged a pitchfork into wet soil, I am prepared to give it a go.
There are a handful of plots in Queens Park that are shared – beginners like myself have every reason to be daunted by starting out on a large plot, so I’m hopeful that from small seeds modest crops will grow in a small bed. Although I must admit it’s a fairly depressing prospect being out of doors trying to clear leaves and turn soil right now, it is arguably the best time of the year to be starting a new plot.
The last week or two have not been well spent, although I make regular trips to the allotment to dump organic waste on the promising compost heap. Plodding around the makeshift paths that intertwine the various plots, I’ve been trying to find inspiration in our new neighbours’ projects. Different plots demonstrate different levels of activity and different aspirations.
Will my modest aspirations succeed or amount to anything tangible? I blog, therefore I am. So now that I’ve told you about it, I have no way of avoiding the hard work this is going to need.