You know when you get so physically tired that you can barely even speak? Well, I’ve been there a few times this week. It’s not an altogether unpleasant feeling — I find that toiling to the point of total exhaustion has a pleasing brain-clearing effect — at the end of an evening down the allotment, I’ve been too tired to think of anything much at all. But when I close my eyes to sleep, I still see the devilish shapes of marestail and shepherds purse dancing across my eyelids. Agch! Weeds! Weeds! I’ve been hacking them down, pulling them out and (as you see above) piling them up to dry. Today I began to burn ’em.


Burn, weeds, burn!

Tackling the land at this stage really is a basic, physical struggle, but every day I notice that things are looking a little better. On Wednesday, for example, I cleared a mountain of ancient rubbish from out of the pond — including a long-dead newt, all bloated and white. But then yesterday, I found that a plump frog had happily re-established itself on the rocks I’d uncovered and weeded round.


frog buddy!

I weeded and mulched round the strawberries, and now they are ripening nicely


I found other fruits too


Never having had one before, the greenhouse is a luxury that I’m really enjoying — here come tomatoes. . .


People have been incredibly kind with seeds and plants: here are leeks – thanks to David and Mohini.


And though I’ve repainted the outside of the shed a nice allotment green to blend in with its surroundings, I allowed myself to go a bit beach-hut inside. . .


This shed has rooms. Rooms!

I planted out herbs and some other foolish things too — why not?


I love it all so much already.


25 thoughts on “spent

  1. I am so delighted and gleeful watching the progress of the allotment. What a beautiful enterprise…

    …I have spent a little time in Mark’s garden and was touched to find that all my dye plants are being carefully nurtured and encouraged and that all the things we planted together are thriving.

    So beautiful to grow things, it’s such a nourishing thing to be doing and your plot looks AMAZING! I must take a trip up North sometime later this summer so we can sip tea in the allotment and knit socks.

    You have no idea how much the sight of you enterprising with so much green goodness gladdens my Felix heart!


  2. Wow! That sounds like an amazing allotment you have inherited! ROOMS?! And thanks for the tip about burning weeds – so obvious, and yet I hadn’t thought of it. My “compost heap” is almost as big as the house!


    1. Yes, though I try to keep all the nettles &c to rot down, I am terrified of getting resilient marestail seeds in me compost…


  3. I’m quite green with envy. Allotments in my neck of the woods (aka. a community garden) is limited to a 4×10 plots, and in my case two plots. They can hold a fair bit, but most definitely not a greenhouse or a pond. I shall have to live vicariously through your postings.


  4. Could you explain how the allotments work? e.g. do you have it until you die or hand it on or for a set period of time?

    Have you planted beans? I was cheeky and planted ours very late this summer (sth hem)in *february*! and still had beans to eat. And for shear childish amazement at growing thing you cannot beat beans


  5. Your beautiful pictures are making me want to share; the boy kiwi plant has come back from the dead!! The girl got a little scruffy but her health was never in serious doubt. But the boy! I thought I knew a dead plant when I saw one, but he has leaves! I am naming him Lazarus.


  6. That sounds like one amazing allotment! How about a map so that we can see the layout? I can’t believe that you have a shed(s) with multiple rooms and a stove. You could have a holiday there! Enjoy!!


  7. Want some chilli pepper plants – i’ve got about 50!! Bit over enthusiastic with the seeds and then they actually grew!! If you’re interested let me know and I’ll bring a few to K1 on Thursday.


  8. I am so happy for you!! It sounds like it is a lot of work getting your allotment in shape, but it sounds like it will be worth it. I am so surprised, though, by what I am reading. First off, I had never heard of allotments before reading your blog, but that may be my fault. But what I had in mind certainly isn’t what you have! I was picturing a small plot, maybe about the size of my deck; but you have a pond and buildings and everything!! It sounds so much more awesome than what I pictured! And that makes me even more excited for you that you have it! (and, of course, I hope you continue to take lots of pictures; I live very vicariously though the internet at this point :) ).

    I hope your strawberries also make it! I planted some for the first time this year. One day when I went out to check on them I noticed some critter ran off with one of the only two red ones. The next day something made off with all the unripe green ones too! Maybe I will have better luck next year…


  9. It must be amazing to grow so much in such a beautiful space. I currently live in a ground level suite in the city with my boyfriend so we only have a tiny cement patch on which to grow potted plants – and it doesn’t get much sun! Excited about moving further towards countryside one day.


  10. That feeling of speechless exhaustion can be a really good one, when you’ve spent the day doing something productive that you love. It makes your couch and whatever food you next eat seem like the best things you’ve ever touched!

    So jealous, not only of your allotment, but also of your ability to not kill plants. :-)


  11. Wow! How big is your allotment, exactly? I was under the impression that allotment plots were on the smallish side, just enough to grow a few supplemental vegetables.


  12. Working in the garden may be the most relaxing kind of physical work I know. How nice you’ve got a frog – it looks like it approves with all its heart of all the work you’re doing!


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