ALLOTMENTS are big news at the moment. Or, at least, they are in The Examiner.
This very week we have featured stories on both the creation of pristine new allotments at Kirkburton and newly re-invigorated plots at Lockwood.
Each has been accompanied by pictures of smiling faces and neatly dug-over ground.
And each has reminded me that our own little strip of land will soon be cropping dandelions and little else unless we put in some serious serfing.
We’ve had our allotment for 14 years. I know this only because The Girl was three when we first got it and this summer she will be 17. Every year we are filled with the ridiculous hope that it will be dug over in its entirety and fully planted out by the end of May. This almost never happens because something always seems to get in the way.
One year The Man’s back ‘went’ spectacularly as he leaned over to weed the strawberries.
This year he’s got a run of weekends on duty just at the critical time for weed control, ie this month.
There’s only so much I can do alone, particularly as my back ‘went’ on my birthday last weekend and is showing no signs of returning any time soon.
Somehow though we will get most of it dug over and come August we’ll be awash with courgettes, coriander and runner beans – our three staple crops, grown on the basis that any fool can coax them out of the ground.
In fact, the coriander grows all by itself without any help, including seed planting, by ourselves.
Our neighbouring plotters, mostly retired, must regard our allotment with a mixture of amusement and annoyance.
I know I would if I was them.
But despite the annual struggle against nature, we wouldn’t want to be rid of our little plot. It has become part of our lives and when we’re eating courgette-based meals later in the year we’ll feel happy and contented to have kept it on.
Looking at the pictures of the new plots at Kirkburton, however, made me realise that allotments themselves are part of an ongoing organic process.
At the moment these plots lie empty and bare. In a few years they will boast sheds and cold frames made from offcuts of wood and old window frames.
There will be raised beds constructed with railway sleepers and bird scarers made from glittering CDs tied to bamboo canes. They will be, and should be, places where recycling means thinking of ingenious uses for the things other people throw away.
Every allotment will look different, each will have its owner’s personality stamped upon it. Which does make me wonder what our says about us!