In April 2019 I became a landowner. Well not so much a landowner as a custodian of this strip of land at the Woodseats Allotment hub. I had the great fortune to be able to work on a ‘starter plot’. As you walk down from the entrance to the hub you will find the starter bed at the bottom. The plot was a blank canvas to start growing in.
As I had never had an area this big to grow on before I was not sure how I would get on. I started with the staples of potatoes, onions, beetroot, beans, courgettes and sunflowers.
I decided to create a raised bed on the plot to make it easier to use the larger space at the end. The willow and the hazel used was all coppiced in Sheffield area making this a very sustainable and green construction.
The starter plots are just one part of the Woodseats Allotment Hub. The area is a community plot and the combination of people’s skills and work combines to create a space for everyone to enjoy. I used my skills in working with willow to create some willow obelisks on the community beds. Later they were planted with beans which when grown were sold at ‘pop-up’ stalls and also donated to ‘Foodworks’
Some of the things I learnt from doing and from others
1. If you water from the top the soil is liable to go green. Better to water from below
2. What you plant grows and gives amazing satisfaction
3. Well some things grow and some don’t
The squash did well but not the melon.
Having the starter plot in 2020 was really special. 2020 was a year like no other and no one was to know how the COVID-19 pandemic was to pan out. Being able to go to the plot and focus my energy on planting and growing was really important. During my time at the plot I could lose myself in the task at hand. As well as being able to sit with a sandwich and a drink and occasionally have a little weep about how it all was in the world. I learnt that it is not possible to stay sad when all around you there is new life coming forth and that growing takes patience and kindness.