Motorshed……Place of spades

Over the winter, I discovered a distressing fact. My little allotment shed had a leak in the roof. Ruby and I were sheltering from a particularly heavy downpour, when I noticed a constant drip, drip, drip coming from the corner of the ceiling……disaster.

Luckily a friend of Mr Inker’s was able to fix this for me, but it gave us the push we needed to fix the outside. It was covered in roof felt, but this was starting to become patchy in places and it was only a matter of time before I had leaks coming from the sides too.

Again, I had been gifted some fencing panels from one of the chaps on the site. It was one of those ‘ooh yes. I’ll take them, they will come in useful at some point’ moments, and this was the useful point. Mr Inker spent a weekend up at the plot with me and used the panels to clad the shed for me, and my goodness, what a difference it made!

Before………….
…………and after

Ok, so it is patchy in places and we had to leave a gap for the bar to go across the door, but I love the rustic look of it and it is a bazillion times better than it was previously, it makes me think of ‘Little house on the Prairie’. I had crocheted lots of bunting that I had hung around the plot and I popped some up on the overhang of the shed to finish it off.

I have put many decorative touches around my allotment as I want it to be an attractive space as well as a productive one.

Bird house and crochet bunting
Sweetpea towers, with a Rose at the end of the path
The cottage garden starting to look prettier
Crocheted blanket over the chair
The sprout house

Already I have come so far on my plot, from the weed filled space it once was to what it is now. There is still tonnes to do, but I have many years to keep pottering along with it.

Here are some pictures of some of the spaces where the biggest changes have taken place.

Brassica bed and arches

And in honour of my new look shed, I treated myself to an allotment T-shirt

Grapple me grapenuts, it’s compost corner

Things were starting to come together on the plot now, the beds in the main part of the plot were now dug out. I had erected arches at the end of each of the paths with idea to grow climbing plants up them such as peas and beans, I also wanted to give munchkin pumpkins a try so I will let them clamber up one of the arches too.

Ruby checking the arches are straight

Mr Inker had put in the scaffolding planks for me, and as we had just had a delivery of woodchip I was able to finish my paths. The difference it made was unbelievable, It was starting to look like a proper allotment, it was also starting to look like I knew what I was doing!

I felt now that I could start looking at working on other parts of the plot. In the front corner was a large dilapidated compost heap that took up just too much room and I had an idea for that space, as a result I decided to relocate the compost to the back of the plot out of the way. I had acquired some pallets from the chap who had the plot over the lane from mine and also from work, so used these to create a compost bin with 2 bays so that I could turn compost from one bay to the other.

The beginnings of the new compost bays

Now it was onto the daunting task of tackling the old scrappy compost bay. It was completely overgrown with a selection of the most perennial of weeds, so yet again it was dig, dig dig.

Now bear with me here, because in my head this was going to be a flower garden. In the spirit of allotmenting, I had utilised an old zinc trough that had previously been full of rubbish, filled it with soil and had planted tulips, daffodils, crocus and ranunculus. In the middle of this space, I envisioned a patch of grass and a flower bed that undulated around it, filled with a variety of beautiful colourful flowers.

I made a friend whilst removing the old compost bay

After a good few weeks, numerous nettle stings, broken nails, countless scratches and sore muscles i finally had the bare bones of the cottage garden I wanted to create, and was able to plant some bulbs.

The cottage garden has the Ruby seal of approval

Now we are into the full throws of Spring, this little patch has really come to life, there is still tonnes to do but I am so pleased with the progress so far.

Dig for Victory

The next stage of the transformation of the plot was a whole lot of digging. Mr Inker had already made a start for me at the side of the shed, so our next job was to dig out the paths I had marked out. Baring in mind that the Summer of 2018 was on par with the Summer of 1976, this was no mean feat.

Ruby inspecting our workmanship

my plan was that these beds would be edged with scaffolding boards and the paths would be covered with woodchip as we have that delivered to the site, but I knew it would be a while before that happened.

We started to dig the beds over, the plot was covered in a lot of couch grass so we had to make sure we got the roots out as we were digging.

Ruby working hard again……she just never stops!

Everything was starting to come together now and i could see my vision on what the plot should look like come to life.

I also had a sign made for the gate of my plot, it had now arrived in the post so I popped it up on the gate.

I now felt that my plot was officially named!

Next stop was doing something with the shed. I knew I wanted somewhere nice and cosy to sit to shelter from the sun during the long hot summers of years to come………..who was I kidding, it was to shelter from the rain we would undoubtedly have.

The shed was a typical allotment shed, made from bits and pieces that had been gathered, unfortunately most of it was made from chipboard, hence why it was covered in roof felting, not very attractive but serviceable for now.

I started with the inside by painting it in a light colour to brighten it up; it already had a table in there, which I was able to put my camping stove and kettle on for those all important cups of tea that I would inevitably quaff on a regular basis. I brought a little cabinet to store the cups and other bits and bobs out of the way and started to put up little metal signs and other decorative items to really girlify it.

I now had somewhere nice and dry to sit when the winter started to set in, totally unnecessary, but it would be a place I would enjoy being in.

Welcome to the jungle

The idea for an allotment came from my work wife Sue, we had previously been having a discussion about growing veggies in our gardens and how limited we were with the space. Sue told me that she had put her name down for an allotment, so naturally I decided to copy her!

Thinking it would take years to get to the top of the list, I was surprised when I was approached about a year later by the Secretary of the site I had applied for, letting me know that I was top of the list. There were a couple of plots that I could choose from and decided to go with the one that had a shed on it so that I had somewhere to sit when it inevitably rained.

So in August 2018, I got the keys to plot 38b and my allotment journey began. And this is what I faced

and my first thought was……where the blimming heck do I begin?

Jan, the site secretary had kindly strimmed all of the waist high weeds down for me so I could see better what I was dealing with.

I was joined by my Fiance, Mr Inker and Ruby our Red Setter. Mr Inker set to work on the space at the side of the shed, digging this over and getting rid of the multitude of perennial weeds, whilst I started to mark out the paths that would divide the 3 large beds in front of the shed. Ruby worked extremely hard by sniffing things and snoozing in the shed (well done Ruby, couldn’t have done without you!)

And this is how it looked after the first week. Already it was looking a million times better and I couldn’t wait to continue my journey with my plot.