Six on Saturday – Someone else’s graft

19/12/2020

Mr Propagator has had a case of the flagging-gardening-mojos recently, so it seemed like a good idea to participate in his meme ‘Six on Saturday‘ with a batch of interesting stuff to re-ignite his enthusiasm.  Sadly, it has been a struggle to pick six new, inspiring or pretty plants/projects from our garden this week, so I’ve taken the easy route and I am going to show you somebody else’s efforts.

This week I had a socially-distanced get-together with gardening friends on their allotment. I love allotments, even though I don’t have one nowadays. They are usually exciting melting pots of cultures, thriftiness and creativity. This one turned out to be no different.

allot0

Although we ended up stamping our feet, huddled deep in our coats, clasping self-prepared thermos flasks of hot beverages, we had a lovely chat and I especially enjoyed poking around their, and the nearby, plots to check out some fun and inventive allotment ‘furniture’. That is what I am sharing today …

1 The Shed

Allotment sheds are often a distinctive feature of the plot, frequently decorated in jolly bunting or painted bright colours. My friend’s was of the latter persuasion:

allot1

I didn’t get to see the inside, but since watching a Gardener’s World episode ages ago where someone was distilling gooseberry hooch inside a shed, I’ve imagined slightly interesting, if dodgy stuff going on whenever I see them.

2 Bird Scarers

To keep the pigeons off the plot, you’d think! So this suspended plastic bird, looking rather like a pigeon hybrid, amused me:

allot2It seems to work though.

3  Protective Cages

Apart from specifically made hoops, rods and connectors, there are a lot of inventive bits and pieces that can be used to to make frames for netting the vegetables (typically brassicas and lettuce). If you want a cheap frame for a walk-in cage and you happen to be a plumber, this one made of piping looks like a deluxe version:

allot3

Extendable too! I’m guessing the owner is an inveterate tinkerer.

4 Canes and Safety

Meanwhile, I get the feeling that this allotmenteer has probably learnt from experience that canes are an accident waiting to happen (as I know for myself). Every stick or cane on the plot was topped with an empty drinks can, jam jar, yogurt carton or lunch-pack juice bottle. Interestingly, there are no (terracotta) flower pot toppers though.

allot6

BTW Ball pit balls work well too and you can’t miss them.

5 Raised Beds

Most of the plots had at least one raised bed to show. My friend has nicknamed hers ‘The coffin’ due to its now distorted shape (mine are doing this too – not thick enough planks I guess). The adjacent plot appears to have a rather more robust, but lower, jaunty two-tone affair (to match the shed I suppose).

allot4

 

6) Composts and Containment

There are often communal bays for compost, but most plots have their own modest constructions. Many of these are made from pallets, but a fair few plots used ready-made plastic jobs.

allot5

I like this final view along the central allotment path. It showcases many typical features of the plots. It somehow makes me want to get stuck in. In fact, things look remarkably organised and rigorously delineated at this site. Although, there are still the usual arguments over encroachment, water access, weed spread etc by the sounds of it. So maybe not utopian, more like distilled life perhaps?

Hope you’ve enjoyed this quick wander around my friend’s plot. If you’ve got a favourite bit of inventive, useful allotment furniture I’d love to hear about it. Meanwhile, if you click through to Jonathon’s blog there will be plenty to inspire you.

Take care!

About Frogend_dweller

Living in the damp middle of nowhere
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22 Responses to Six on Saturday – Someone else’s graft

  1. Paddy Tobin says:

    Ah, the brew in the shed! I recall that my aunt had a very productive still set up in her back garden in London back in the 60s and 70s. She was an avid producer and consumer of alcohol and continued on her retirement home to Ireland. Some of her country wines were simply dynamite, fruit wines which were regularly fortified with very powerful alcohol. On the other hand, Mary’s grandaunt did very well in New York during prohibition; her production unit was in the bathroom and regularly shared with Mr. Sinatra – Frank’s father! Mary still has a mink coat, so big and heavy that it would need a very strong woman to carry it, which her grandaunt received as a gift from Mr. Sinatra.

  2. fredgardener says:

    This pink shed is quite amazing! In my father’s allotments, no one is allowed to decorate the shed, which must be in dark varnished wood. Each person is only entitled to one greenhouse which must be removable and not exceed 2 m. When I see the greenhouse structures in your photos, I tell myself that it is less strict with you.

    • Allotments can be a completely different world, bit Mad Max-like! Some do have strict rules though. Funnily enough I tried to spot where to go to meet my friends on their allotment by using google maps to look for a pink shed. Of course the roofs all use the same coloured material, so that was a big fail!

  3. Oh no! That shed reminds me of my neighbour’s orange one which I am desperate to screen! I suppose on an allotment nobody has to look at it all day long 😉 I agree with you that allotments are fascinating, a window into many little worlds 🙂

    • Ah yes, I hadn’t thought of that. I see your point! It probably sticks out more on a grey, winter’s day. It is tucked behind a pretty ugly container, so I think only three or four other people ever see it. There maybe politics involved?

  4. Eliza Waters says:

    Fun look-around. I think every plot needs a chair for a sit-down rest or just to admire the scene. I had a wooden one that disintegrated after a few years. I’m looking for a more durable replacement.

  5. Katharine says:

    This was a great idea for a post. I love looking at allotments from train windows as I whizz by (not that I’ve been doing that this year!). I’ve not seen a pink shed though – that is something else!

    • Thanks Katharine. I used to do the daily grind into London on the train into Kings Cross and that was a good route for allotment browsing.
      The shed was repainted this year and I am not sure what triggered her choice of colour. It sure looks like a statement.

  6. Cathy says:

    Really interesting to read this, Allison, and I love the pink shed!

  7. lyart says:

    great post! I love looking at other people’s gardens, too. For the “coffins”: I had a wooden one, too (secretly named “the hubby grave”- we all think along the same lines, don’t we?) It rotted away within three years. So I replaced it with stones, planting stones, set in steps. Looks nice during summer, as one can overgrow the walls of the patch.

  8. Pádraig says:

    Ah, this is excellent! I’d love to have witnessed the stamping, huddling, clasping & poking around.
    I had a short-lived allotment and loved the community spirit of it, although there was an element of “my-god-would-ya-look-at-the-state-of-that-fella’s-plot”.

    • Blimey, I had to go back to check I really said all of that!
      It’s always fun to compare, especially when things seem in one’s favour! It’s an easy place to be openly nosy too. When we looked after an allotment I found it interesting to note that: the Polish guys opposite loved their cucumbers, the Italians grew phenomenal beans and prepared troughs for them almost a year in advance and the Indians next door to us grew a ton of fenugreek. Half their plot seem to put down to it. May be it was the only way to get it fresh?

  9. shoreacres says:

    Now, here’s the most basic of questions: what’s an allotment? Clearly, it’s a garden plot, but what kind of garden, exactly? Is it a communal garden, or several individual gardens grouped together? Who owns the land? Etc. There certainly is a lot of creativity on display!

    • Allotments are gardens on community land (run by parish councils typically), that are divided up into smaller strips, which are then leased for a small annual fee to individuals for their own use. Traditionally, they were used for growing extra food to help feed families. There is often a long waiting list to get a plot. Rules relating to the erection of sheds and other structures depend on the local council. Sometimes there are also restrictions on what you can grow e.g. fruit trees and other semi-permanent plants are sometimes prohibited.

      • shoreacres says:

        Oh, thanks for that great explanation. It sounds like a marvelous idea, really. There are community gardens here, too, but I don’t think they’re so common, or so well organized.

  10. There’s a shed exactly the same shade of pink on my allotment site, it makes me smile whenever I pass by!

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