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A Story from Allotmenteer 65+

I’m on my third allotment, here at Hurst Road; and it’s turned out to be the friendliest.

I’ve been on plot 18 for over 6 years. As is usual, I took over a plot which had lacked enthusiastic attention for some time. That’s not to say that it is now perfect. Far from it, but, I am making a difference. I’ve ripped up the buddleia, nettles and

brambles which were in the way, knocked down the rotting shed made of pallets, stripped the turf and double dug the plot, and erected and repaired a shed. I created a raised bed from paving slabs for asparagus, planted 20 plus fruit bushes and a cherry tree, made two compost bins, and the turf I removed formed two compost heaps. And I weeded, and weeded and weeded. I made a fence at the rear of the plot and following the advice in a book I was reading at the time, made it rabbit proof by burying it lower than 12”; not being aware that the rabbits had all departed with the onset of myxomatosis. And that’s just plot 18A. In a wild moment I took on 18B. There was more weeding, but, also the challenge of apple and plum trees.

Some challenges we aspire to and others are forced upon us. Like the deer who provide us with our latest challenge. I became aware of the deer eating my crops in 2015 and it’s only got worse this year. I decided that netting or caging crops on each bed was effective but inefficient. So I set about fencing the plot. At the front I now have a one metre high fence with mesh infill and a decent gate; and have continued it, at intervals, between the fruit cages along one side of the plot. They take the form of a wooden frame with wire mesh infill allowing the panels to be moved. I thought I was protecting my plot from Muntjacs until someone put a hand on my shoulder and whispered in my ear the news that they were in fact Roe deer, and could easily jump two metres. I decided that it didn’t matter and that I enjoyed building fences. Still they cannot get at my gooseberries and don’t seem to like rhubarb. There is always a silver lining if you care to look.

We now have TATA to support us on the allotment. With their help we hope to persuade Twyford Parish Council to help us exclude the deer and others from the plot. Suggestions include growing thorny bushes and brambles to cordon off the plot behind the Hazel copse and along the road embankment, and at the front of the plot. Like growing our crops this will not be a short term project.

Allotmenteer 65+