Looking to this blog you would think I was out and about all the time, but that’s not the case. Most of the time I’m at home, shouting a teenager out of bed, off to school, or in to bed. I do work 3 days a week, for the NHS. It’s a busy, chaotic job and so when I’m not in work I enjoy some quiet, down time.

When the weather is decent (and sometimes when it’s not) I can be found on the allotment, trying to grow some vegetables and fruit. More for pleasure than to sustain us totally. Although in previous years the tomatoes, peppers, peas, broccoli and sweet corn have lasted for many months and are much tastier than any supermarket variety.

This year hasn’t been so good, the combination of Covid (working extra hours/shifts) lockdowns, some ill health, and having a new partner meant a reduction in the time I had available and everything suffered. So I put a plan together and slowly over the last few weeks I’ve been spending a few hours each week working small areas and getting everything cleared, covered, fed and prepped for next years growing.

I’ve decided to change a few things around to make life easier for myself. Mum used to help out a lot, but the last 2 years she’s really slowed down and isn’t as able as before. She still has a go though. So I’m creating smaller beds and covering the unused ‘path’ areas with weed membrane and covering with bark chipping. This will cut down on weeding and less to worry about. I’ve also added another pond area, this can be left for wildlife once fully planted up and one less area to worry about.

The greenhouse is my biggest concern at the moment, it was built about 20 years ago by Frank, the previous owner, and whilst it’s a wonderful structure it isn’t the most stable any more. The wood was thin to start with and although it’s been treated every year is really starting to show it’s age. The glass is the old fashioned thin greenhouse glass, single panes, that crack every time one of the allotment cats walks over the roof. So this will be next years big project, I would like to reuse old double glazed units and again build something myself that will last for years rather than buy something ready made, probably plastic. I will keep you updated on the greenhouse build.

It can be hard work, but being outdoors is a necessity for me. I find being indoors makes me grumpy and miserable. When I’m not at the allotment I go out walking, with or without the dog. I need those hours outside even in the winter, rain and cold. Being in nature is what grounds me and calms me. I’m looking to join a rambling group next year to get out and do some proper walks in the hills and mountains of Wales, Lancashire and Yorkshire.