Isn't it beautiful?

Here it is! After years of working my way up the waiting list, here is the first sight of MY NEW ALLOTMENT!

I know.

A little underwhelming, isn’t it? If you were an estate agent you might call it a “fixer-upper”. Still, before we go on let’s rewind a little bit and relive the magic moment when my eyes first fell upon the promised land.

Clive the allotment secretary rang a couple of weeks ago (“‘Ello dear boy, ‘ow are yer?”) with the happy news that I had made it to the top of the waiting list and he had a “lovely little plot” to offer me. He described it in honeyed tones – a half plot so not too demanding for a first timer, worked last year so in good condition and not overgrown, plenty of scope to do what I want with it.

We agreed a date to meet up and look it over and so, one overcast Sunday morning, I found myself at the gates to the allotments awaiting a rendez vous with Clive.  After pleasantries we set off across the allotments, walking past manicured and lovingly-tended plots. We did not stop near any of these plots.

The plots got a little scruffier. A few overgrown patches began to appear here and there. The brambles began to assert themselves. We kept walking.

The light began to fade. Eventually Clive paused. “Almost there, dear boy, almost there.” An owl hooted. We reached the boundary fence and hung a left to see….my plot!

It’s fair to say it wasn’t quite how I’d pictured it. Those silky words “Worked last year” had led me to imagine a manicured plot, carefully marked beds, perhaps a few fruit bushes and perennials still going strong.

Clive kicked a thigh-high tuft of grass: “Think you might have some raspberries in there” he nodded approvingly.

I’m not sure who worked it last year, but I don’t think I would be doing them a disservice if I said it doesn’t appear to have been intensively worked in the recent past.

But never mind the quibbles, it’s mine! I have an allotment to grow fruit and vegetables! So what’s it like?

As you can see from the pic it’s cornered on two sides by the boundary fence; a stream runs along one side, and some neighours’ gardens back on to another edge.

It’s five rods in size. That’s 13m x 10m to you and me.The sun rises behind the stream and sets just behind…..the forty foot trees on the edge of the plot.

Hmm. Probably not a sun-kissed paradise, but if you had to put a couple of ginormous evergreens on your vegetable patch where they blocked out the least amount of light then that’s where they’d be. What with those trees and the shade from the fences and shrubs in the back gardens, it’s probably about 8m wide in reality, with not much likely to grow along that boundary.

There are a few random-looking beds dotted around the plot, various shapes and sizes. One of them has a large mound of earth in the middle, looking alarmingly like a recently-dug grave, and there are also a couple of pieces of carpet that are presumably covering other beds.

I have my own shed! Sitting in the far corner, it looks more like an outhouse, but it’s somewhere to keep tools and bits and bobs without getting wet. And just behind that is a water tank that is hooked up to the mains, which for £5 a year gives me unlimited water right on my doorstep.

The next-door plot is being worked for the first time this year, and just across from mine is a plot dedicated to bees; three bee hives with another three on the way.

It’s all very exciting. I think it’s probably just big enough to grow a lot, but not dauntingly so. There’s a fair bit of shade, but you don’t need 24 hour sun to grow veg, so as long as we don’t plan along mediterranean lines that shouldn’t be a problem, and there are thousands of people on waiting lists so to have any plot is a bonus.

So now on to the planning. I’ll be drawing up a wish list of things to grow, blowing the dust off those garden design books and figuring out what to do with my new empire. Watch this space…..