Today was the first time we could get access to our allotment. As I've mentioned before the site is a reclaimed car park which the local council have turned into an allotment.
I've been pondering what the allotment will be like. I know our strip is 2m by 10m but which way would it face, would there be a path along the side or just mud and what is the soil like? I know from the previous soil analysis that it's an alkaline sand/loam mix but there's nothing like sticking your hand in and giving it a good rub.
So at 4:45pm we headed up to the site which is a 15min walk up a very busy urban Holloway Road, down a small alley, not far from Holloway tube station. On arrival at the site we had the first glimpse of our fellow allotmentiers (what is the word for someone who allotments?) as well as the site manager who has been instrumental in setting the site up. At first glance it looked very sparse but orderly with neat rows of plots with paving between them. Well that was one of my questions answered.
We had a brief introduction from the site manager. At the moment we can only access the site at weekends or after 4pm on weekdays as the builders are still making the compostable toilet (I find this very exciting), the compost bins, and the storage shed. At present there isn't a water supply due to Thames Water being an arse but when the site is connected there are water "banks" spaced along the main path supplied by a solar powered pump. There's also a run off system which collects rain water from local housing blocks.
There's also a raised bed section at the entrance to the site which a disability group are going to use. I was hoping the allotment would appease my middle class do-gooder dreams of an urban utopia and so far it hasn't let me down. As well as there being several middle class people like me there are a couple from, well we're not sure where yet but I guessed they were Kurdish, maybe Turkish or Albanian who got stuck in planting some beautiful broad bean plants.
The site is surrounded by a brick wall and fencing and has barbed wire on the top which does give it the feel of a prison exercise yard. I might have to crochet some flowers to decorate the fence while we're waiting for the plants to grow.
We went to have a closer look at our plot and met a family who had come prepared, planting raspberry canes and spuds. I would love to grow fruit but can't decide on what to grow or where to buy it from. One of the problems of living where we do is that not many garden centres are within walking distance and it can be tricky lugging things around on the tube or buses. I do have a fellow knitter friend who gardens and has a car so I may go on outings with her to garden centres. I have looked at online garden shops so may try that too.
We weeded our plot, there were just a few annual seeds, and borrowed our neighbours hoe to turn over half the bed. The soil feels quite claggy further down but has a hard crust on top at the moment which is easily broken down by hoeing. We're planning to go back tomorrow to get the spuds, onions and garlic started. I can't wait.