Hello from the West Midlands

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Viper254
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Hello from the West Midlands

Post: # 293249Post Viper254
Thu Dec 05, 2019 9:49 am

Hello!

Hope you're all alright - I just wanted to say hello after my account was approved.

I'm quite new to gardening and growing in general. When I was younger, I took out John Seymour's Complete Guide to Self Sufficiency from the school library repeatedly, pawing through the pages and, I suppose, aspiring to some elements of it.

Life happened, I moved around the country for work, spent a long time working hard and now I find myself at a different point a bit later on.

I got an allotment in September through freak timing, some door knocking and some letters written to the previous occupant. It's behind the back garden of my house, about 0.1 acres, 400 square meters.

It's brutally overgrown but my partner and I have been working to try and get it under control. It's laid about 1/4 to lawn, another 1/4 lost to a couple of trees (one cob nut, other not sure) and the other half to brick-bordered beds. It's taken us quite a while to find the paths under years of mulch but I think we largely understand the layout now!

Anyway, I find working out there keeps me sane and I look forward to the spare hours when I can slip out and work on it. We have two varieties of raspberries, black currants, red currants and gooseberries in situ, with the bushes seeming healthy enough. Somebody has tried to cultivate blackberries at some point with a scaffolding frame and they're taking a lot of time to clear.

Anyway, the hope is that, in about two or three years time, I'll be able to drop down from 5/6 to 4 days a week of work, and use the allotment to supplement our food supply and mitigate the loss of income a little. It's a long way off, though, and needs an awful lot more work until we can even get near to that.

Anyway, thanks for reading - I've been swotting up on loads of stuff from these forums already - and looking forward to keeping up with new developments :)

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Green Aura
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Re: Hello from the West Midlands

Post: # 293250Post Green Aura
Thu Dec 05, 2019 10:58 am

Hello Viper and welcome to Ish. :wave:

An allotment so close to home sounds fabulous - my last one was about five miles away! It sounds like whoever had it last put some good stuff in and now you've uncovered it you'll be able to get it productive quite quickly.

It might be worth getting the rules of your particular allotment, if you haven't already. Some are very particular about what you can and can't grow (the ones I've had experience of wouldn't have allowed a lawn!). Other plot owners will be able to give you invaluable advice as well.

Having a long term plan is a great idea. In the meantime build it up slowly as you get to know what the plot has, what grows well on it and what you like/dislike.

There's a wealth of info on here. Have a good look round (there's a search function in the top right hand corner) and ask questions. We'll try to help!
Maggie

Never doubt that you can change history. You already have. Marge Piercy

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. Anais Nin

Viper254
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Re: Hello from the West Midlands

Post: # 293251Post Viper254
Thu Dec 05, 2019 11:06 am

Green Aura wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 10:58 am
An allotment so close to home sounds fabulous - my last one was about five miles away! It sounds like whoever had it last put some good stuff in and now you've uncovered it you'll be able to get it productive quite quickly.

It might be worth getting the rules of your particular allotment, if you haven't already. Some are very particular about what you can and can't grow (the ones I've had experience of wouldn't have allowed a lawn!). Other plot owners will be able to give you invaluable advice as well.
Thanks :)

The allotment doesn't have much in the way of rules apart from caveats on building residential dwellings. It's owned rather than leased. There were originally about 15 of them in a long row on the back lane, but only 3 remain as allotments now with the others all subsumed into people's back gardens and put to lawn, which seems such a shame.

From the paperwork it looks like they were all designated in 1906 as allotments. Every other one has a well, and some had big heated greenhouses, which have sadly all fallen down since. Ours has a very rickety boiler house just about upright in the corner, but it's full of debris and currently home to hibernating hedgehogs, so I've left it alone unil next summer.
Trying to get to grips with a Staffordshire allotment (UK)
Seasoned skip-diver and rescuer of broken things, but not a great horticulturalist

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Flo
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Re: Hello from the West Midlands

Post: # 293252Post Flo
Thu Dec 05, 2019 12:34 pm

Ah there's nothing like an overgrown allotment to make you realise just how much time it takes to make you anywhere near self sufficient. If done well you will have no spare time. :mrgreen:

But welcome, enjoy your time here and we'll try and help where we can.

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Re: Hello from the West Midlands

Post: # 293253Post Odsox
Thu Dec 05, 2019 3:50 pm

Welcome to our little forum Viper :wave:
Anything you want to know just ask, there's bound to be someone who can help
Tony

Disclaimer: I almost certainly haven't a clue what I'm talking about.

ina
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Re: Hello from the West Midlands

Post: # 293254Post ina
Thu Dec 05, 2019 9:11 pm

And a hello from me, too!
Ina
I'm a size 10, really; I wear a 20 for comfort. (Gina Yashere)

Viper254
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Re: Hello from the West Midlands

Post: # 293255Post Viper254
Fri Dec 06, 2019 2:45 pm

Thanks everyone - I'll crack on and check in every week or so :)
Trying to get to grips with a Staffordshire allotment (UK)
Seasoned skip-diver and rescuer of broken things, but not a great horticulturalist

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Weedo
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Re: Hello from the West Midlands

Post: # 293265Post Weedo
Sun Dec 08, 2019 10:54 pm

Hi Viper, welcome to the forum. As the resident ignoramus on ishish stuff I can assure you there are no silly questions; ask away
Don't let your vision cloud your sight

Viper254
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Re: Hello from the West Midlands

Post: # 293273Post Viper254
Mon Dec 09, 2019 8:42 pm

I've fired up the PC properly tonight and thought I'd put up a couple of pictures.

Please excuse the low quality but my web server is pretty anemic...

Looking towards the West - access to the back lane and the weird lawn. Red currants in the surrounding bed - planning to reduce the numbers of these and replant with something a bit more useful

Image

Left hand side; two brick compost bins. Inherited one well-rotted bin and have been stacking up the other side! Right hand side; the boiler house that once housed the greenhouse stove. It's now in quite a state and needs some serious brick work, but there's currently hedgehogs sleeping in there, so I'm leaving well alone.

Behind the compost heaps is a base that would suit a greenhouse well; previously an Anderson shelter.

Image

This lot (we're looking at the North-East now) was a solid mass of brambles until a few days ago. I've been clearing it down, and have found more fruit bushes; fingers crossed for blackcurrants this time!

Image

Looking East towards the house from the boiler house, you can see the outline of what was once a heated victorian greenhouse; now laid half to raspberries and half to strawberries, but pretty overrun. The only remant is one small piece of wall still standing, and a hundred odd glass panes stacked at the side somewhere

Image

Back on the East side, in the now cleared section, my spade hit something solid - and there was a long path buried, now cleared off.

Image

Anyway, this is too much detail, but it's good to share I guess :)
Trying to get to grips with a Staffordshire allotment (UK)
Seasoned skip-diver and rescuer of broken things, but not a great horticulturalist

ina
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Re: Hello from the West Midlands

Post: # 293276Post ina
Tue Dec 10, 2019 5:27 am

Looks great - so much potential! And hey - red currants are very useful - at least the blackbirds in my garden think so...
Ina
I'm a size 10, really; I wear a 20 for comfort. (Gina Yashere)

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Flo
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Re: Hello from the West Midlands

Post: # 293281Post Flo
Tue Dec 10, 2019 8:15 am

Someone is going to be very self sufficient in gardening methinks.

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Green Aura
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Re: Hello from the West Midlands

Post: # 293283Post Green Aura
Tue Dec 10, 2019 10:34 am

I'm not at all envious. No, not at all. :mrgreen:

I'm guessing the previous gardeners liked berries! Still there looks to be plenty of room to shove in some veg. You'll be vey glad of all those paths too.
Maggie

Never doubt that you can change history. You already have. Marge Piercy

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. Anais Nin

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