Persistence and the new allotment

“Sometimes the only super power you need is persistence”, observes the alien visiting our planet and trying to make sense of our frail, violent, mortal species of middling intelligence in Matt Haig’s excellent book, The Humans. The alien makes a lot of astute observations about us, and am thrilled to prove this particular one true: after more than two years of waiting, chasing, hunting down and persisting, I have finally got a share in a communal allotment in my neighbourhood!

Part of the shared allotment

I am sooooo excited about this. Not only does this give me opportunities to grow more veg, but it’s also so nice to be part of a community of dedicated growers – a bit like blogging, but in physical form. The allotments are a ten minute walk from my house, and this particular plot is well-managed by Roberto and the co-allotmenteers, with a good south-facing aspect in parts, and of course a few challenges in other parts, like the mature trees that are jealously protected here by the local authorities.

My first patch, broccoli ready to go in

I have a little patch to start off with. It’s under an apple tree, but Roberto says we can prune this back. We’ve also got some communal projects like creating a giant potato bed that we will all have access to and will share the harvest. I was able to till my own patch and clear the weeds very quickly, the soil was lovely – clay with sand I think. So I already planted three broccoli plants which I started off from seed in July.

The greenhouse!

I’m right next to the greenhouse, which is very exciting indeed as I’ve never had the pleasure of a proper greenhouse before. OK, so one pane of glass is broken and needs replacing, but that can be dealt with. They’ve got sweet peppers, some salad crops and basil in there at the moment.

The pond

The shared plot occupies a large area – though I’m no good at estimating measurements, it’s got lots of different areas, including a natural woodland area, a pond, a large composting area with five bays, several sheds, water butts and an assortment of fruiting trees, including several apples, cherry trees, a plum, a fig and a quince. The pond has a blanket of duckweed, but contains about 80 frogs, I am told, which is good news for slug and snail control!

The picnic table

Behind a row of hops and next to a large bed of redcurrants is a picnic table, and there are plans to create a BBQ in this area too. I think this could quickly become my home from home.


On my first visit, I was told I could help myself to the apples growing on the tree by my patch, which I did, and will make an apple and blackberry pie this weekend. I also nibbled on some raspberries, and took some chard to add to a curry for dinner.

I’ll leave you with a few images of what makes allotments so quirky and interesting, the personal touches and the Robinson Crusoe make-do-and-mend mentality. I love Roberto’s shed, made with sticks and an old door.

29 thoughts on “Persistence and the new allotment

  1. That’s going to be brilliant for you and I know you’ll enjoy it so very much. A little company when gardening can be welcome at times also. Best wishes with it all.

  2. This is really good news. May I heartily congratulate you on this new acquisition. What a beautiful place, even a pond and a greenhouse are present. You will undoubtedly have a lot of fun (but also a lot of work) with it.
    Allotments are almost no longer available here in Antwerp, there are long waiting lists. You have been very lucky!

    1. Thanks Rudi! Absolutely, lucky and quite persistent: I’ve been on a waiting list for two years, but in the end, as is often the way in Belgium, it was establishing a personal connection that got me what I wanted! The unofficial way…

  3. Oh how exciting for you! You are going to have lots of fun working there. I love the quirky sheds, the little pond and its frogs. I can’t wait to see your progress there! Certainly worthwhile being persistent.

  4. It is so handy to just get fresh organic eatable to cook for lunch all the goodness free and no packaging could not beat that.
    Very fortunate well done

  5. I would be excited too, to get my hands on an allotment, but as far as I know, there are none in the country (though I have two raised beds at home, so cannot really complain). The community sounds v nice too 🙂

    1. They are becoming so popular in Europe, often with a long waiting list. They have an interesting history starting with the enclosures of common land in the 17thC and demands for ‘the right to dig’.

  6. That sounds like such a lovely community! Being part of that AND growing your own veg is wonderful! And access to a greenhouse too. Well done for persevering and finally finding a plot. It looks very welcoming with the picnic table. Wish you loads of fun and success there Sel!

  7. Oh… how thrilling! An allotment! Every part of this post got my gardeners heart pumping wildly with excitement for you! It sounds so perfect in so many ways: the great soil, the wonderful community, the greenhouse, the charm of the build it yourself elements, and even a frog pond! Wow! Am looking forward to hearing about the adventures there. -lisa

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