Monday, 28 January 2013

Lets get started

The garden was not the last owners highest priority and could not be described 'a blank canvas' but after the removal of eight largish Sycamores and hedge of Western Red Cedar some 3m wide x 5m high and 30m long there was at least light. A few false starts later (the planting of a Sequoiadendron giganteum was not a good idea) we finally arrived at a mix of shrub and flower beds, and for my point of view, a decent vegetable garden of approximately 5 rods.
The allotment came about after reading in the local press that the council, in response to a growing waiting list, were proposing to reopen a site they had closed 7 years previously. If enough people were interested in taking the 76 half plots work was to begin that year, so I put my name down - then went to look at it!
The approach to the allotment was initially good with a junior school on the road but then came the rather forlorn Railway station. In the mid 19th C it was Dorking's main station with a staff of twenty and sidings serving a timber yard and gas works, but now sadly reduced to no more than an unmanned halt with shelters. Next to be passed was the car breakers yard with the dogs that you hoped never meet on your side of the fence. It seemed to go on forever but eventually you came to a gate by the side of a traveller site and there it was - 3 acres of of fly tipping on an industrial scale! The potential was huge, the ugly backside of Dorking was left behind and open country lay before me. It lay at the foot of the North Downs in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on clay overlaid with a chalky soil, orientated east-west and facing south it is the perfect place for an allotment. The railway runs along side with nothing but farms and villages till you reach Guildford 13 miles away, you could be forgiven in thinking that you had been transported to a different time.
The next visit was after the council had cleared the site, ploughed it and replaced the fence and installed a water system. This was to meet with the agent and inspect the plot and find out no sheds were allowed or any structure above 4 feet come to that! because of its AONB status (if you ignore the car breakers). The next few months of getting the plots ready for the new growing season were hard work in the mud but the fertile soil has made it worthwhile and now the site has become Mole Valleys flagship allotment site. Trials were to come but nothing others sites have not experienced so what follows are my tribulations, triumphs and thoughts about life.