Five points of focus for my 2019 allotment energies!
Now that January is over and I’ve really had a chance to ruminate and settle on some firm ideas, I thought it would be worth setting down in writing my vision for my allotment in 2019. Let’s go!
INSTALL A FRUIT GARDEN
I don’t need to write too much about this here as I’ve already covered it in this post. I’m regenerating an abandoned and weedy corner into something beautiful and productive! The majority of my January efforts were spent on the Fruit Garden and currently the plan is drawn and the fruit is ordered. Stay tuned over the next few weeks for installation and maintenance tips, and check back in the summer for harvest and recipes!
BE WILDLIFE FRIENDLY
I realised this winter that I need to do a lot more to support the little wildlife community at my allotment. Without those pollinators I would have no produce! I also want to do my bit to reverse the catastrophic damage being done to our wildlife by modern farming’s war on biodiversity. (If you think I’m overegging the damage, consider the fact that Britain has lost 56% of its farmland birds between 1970 and 2015).
Ideas for making my plot more wildlife friendly include planting more flowers for pollinators (borage, calendula, verbena, echinacea, zinnia and lavender), putting up bird boxes and hedgehog homes, installing a bird feeder and a little wildlife pond.
This year is the first year I feel ahead of the game when it comes to weeds, and since I don’t have to spend all year trying to catch up with routine maintenance, I’d like to invest that time into creating better structure on my allotment. I have plans to build folding wooden A-frames for growing beans and sweet peas (to replace the splintering bamboo canes I’ve been using up to now) and use matching laths to demarcate the beds of my 4 bed rotation and serve as supports for plants such as mange tout and hops. I’m sure small details like this will elevate the space as well as providing sustainable and functional supports for future years.
UP MY COMPOST GAME
I have an inherited pallet-based compost heap on my plot which is old, and rotting. I have to be careful not to touch it too much as it crumbles – I’m genuinely amazed it’s still standing! I’ve been an allotment holder for five years now and in that time I’ve never really invested that much effort into compost production. Which I’ve now realised is ludicrous and I could be benefiting a lot more from producing my own ‘black gold’! I intend to replace the rotting wooden compost heap with an efficient hot composter, which will break down garden and food waste considerably faster than a wooden compost heap would. I’m keen to establish a system where I can sustainably add as much organic matter and manure to my allotment as possible and so to that end….
Chickens have been on my list for a long time and despite reading everything there is to read and going on a ‘Chicken Maintenance’ course in preparation (yes, really!), I’ve held back from the commitment for a few different reasons. Seeing other inspiring plotholders post pictures of their girls has convinced me that 2019 has to be the year I take the plunge! Another huge motivating factor for me is food provenance and the wish to leave the system which allows the commercial exploitation of hens. I’d love to rescue a group of ex-battery hens and show them there is kindness in the world. This aim is probably the biggest of all the five I’ve listed here, but wouldn’t it be fab if I succeed?
So there we have it, my five allotment aims for 2019. I hope this has inspired you to think of your own few aims for this year and I look forward to revisiting this post as we stand at the close of the season to assess how well I did!