The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Update on our allotment – 3 weeks on

Scraped allotment plot

Scraped allotment plot

We haven’t done anything on our plot this week. Since the treasurer rang us and said that our ryegrass-covered plot was going to be scraped. We had finally completed one 6’ x12’ border – it had taken 8 hours so we jumped at the chance.

My good friend The Chicken Lady (aka @KittyGG on twitter) alerted me to the fact that our allotment was being ‘scraped’ last night. The allotment committee had hired a nifty little mini digger for a week, to clear the debris from the stream, dig up tree roots, clear ancient carpets and have a go at our new growing space.

So this morning I purred down in The Duchess to survey.

Danny has been working all weekend so my duties were to cook breakfast, last night’s supper and report back on the state of our allotment. Danny fell asleep as I was serving supper last night so missed out on the delicious King Sized Prawns – simmered with smoked garlic (thank you Simon Sumprat – spoils from last weekend’s CSH party), lemon juice and two good handfuls of orach.

If spinach fails to grow well for you, try orach. It self seeds, is pretty and tasty so it’s a one time investment for life. Last year we ordered green and gold orach and the beautiful beetroot red strain too. This year we have masses of self seeded plants and a green/red orach cross. The latter was our first cross pollinated vegetable but it was so ugly that it was pulled up. Tasted the same but just didn’t look appetising.

Back to this morning’s allotment visit. I saw Colin at the shop gate, clearing a new car parking area with the mini digger. I waved and he switched off the engine.
“I cleared 5 rods of your plot last night. I could spray the rest you know. Gone in 10 days – roots and all.”
My mind whirled. Obviously there wasn’t time to scrape the rest of our plot. Danny wants to be totally organic but that rye grass is as hard to shift as digging a 6’ trench with a teaspoon in the jungle.
“How would that affect the vegetables?”
“Not at all. The weed killer that we use on site just kills the plants that it touches.”

So I took a deep breath and said, “Yes, please.”

I spent an hour or so up there. Surveying our plot and watching TCL and S clear their plot. They had planted a few more cabbages and sown seed. All the time at the back of my mind was returning home and how I would broach the announcement about spraying the ryegrass?

Should I pour out a stiffener glass of whisky first?

Danny was happily installed on the swing seat with a glass of beer, the *IOS and a Min Pin. The reaction was much more dramatic than I expected.


So I’ll be up there first thing tomorrow morning. Danny can dig the borders in the rest of the five rods while I clear the scraped turf and plant up the rest. Danny does have a point. After all, digging borders is great exercise.

Post script – the next day:

It was windy today so even though Colin planned to spray our plot at 7 am this morning he couldn’t do the dastardly deed. I did track him down this evening and we discussed the ant residents on the site.

Thank goodness ants are not yet a protected species in the UK. When he was scraping our plot he found that the entire digger was covered with ants. Arrrrgh.

*IOS Independent on Sunday


  Leave a reply


  1. “King Sized Prawns “ simmered with smoked garlic ”
    Now that sounds delicious.

    I might be making some more over the weekend.


  2. bobquail

    I’m kind of with Danny on the chemicals. I’ve tried to be semi-organic with our garden (but I admit to using slug pellets occasionally). Even if it’s supposedly safe, I’d be a bit squeamish about growing veg in a patch which had recently been treated with weedkiller.

  3. You could start an x factor type vote. Scraping or Spraying you decide !

  4. Toffeeapple

    Good grief, it’s enormous, how are you going to find the time to work all that?

  5. Veronica

    wow, it looks huge! I’m not surprise you were tempted by the chemical option …

  6. Magic Cochin

    I can see Danny’s point – but I also know what it’s like to clear an allotment plot, so a tough call!

    I would have gone for the spraying option.

    But it’s Danny’s plot and the digging will be great exercise 😉


  7. I wish I could send you our resident green woodpeckers for a weekend! They would adore eating your ants. And you could call the resulting holes aeration….

  8. Ruthdigs

    Fiona – it’s posted a half post!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

HTML tags are not allowed.

2,270,270 Spambots Blocked by Simple Comments

Copyright © 2006-2024 Cottage Smallholder      Our Privacy Policy      Advertise on Cottage Smallholder

Skip to toolbar