Jed is the best sort of neighbour you could possibly wish for, and even better (for me at least), he is an avid veg-gardener! Even while we were staying he came round bearing gifts of leeks and rhubarb. Jed and I (obviously) got talking about gardening and he offered to give me the guided tour of his allotment, and this of course was not the sort of thing I would ever refuse...
Jed and I evidently have some things in common when it comes to gardening - for instance his preference for growing edible plants - but we also differ in some respects. Case in point: Jed's shed:
I think this is what you might call "boutique style" or "eclectic"! Certainly nothing like my bog-standard 6x4. Notice the rainwater collection arrangement on the front. Jed told me that once he found a couple of down-and-outs ensconced in his shed supping the stale beer he was saving for slug-traps.
Jed grows a wide variety of crops on his plot in the Allotments. Actually he has several small plots within the same Allotment area, so for me it was hard to identify exactly which was his bit, and which belonged to someone else. No doubt about these potatoes though:
Jed's gardening style is one of "Laissez faire". He doesn't rigorously remove all the weeds. He just takes out the biggest ones and lets the veg fend for itself. I was surprised though to find that Jed does not support his peas in any way; they are left to sprawl - which is in a sense more natural - but probably makes them more vulnerable to slug damage.
|Shallots and onions|
This is a general view of the corner of the Allotment area in which Jed has most of his ground.
See that brick wall in the background? It is the last remaining part of a recently-demolished factory. I commented to Jed that it must be a useful feature for providing shelter to the plots, but he was more concerned that the demise of the factory had brought an end to their previous water-collecting arrangements. Apparently all the water from the factory roof had been diverted in to a series of water-butts to provide a supply for the Allotments, but now that is no longer possible. Allotment people are normally pretty ingenious types, so I expect they will soon come up with some suitable replacement method!
|The Great Wall|
This well-organised coldframe and raised bed set-up belongs to one of Jed's plot neighbours. (You can see Jed's shed in the distance).
Just look at the depth of that raised bed! You ought to be able to grow some prize-winning parsnips in that.
Good use of recycled materials has always been a primary characteristic of Allotmenteers - as is well demonstrated in the next photo. (Nice scarecrow leaning on the fence too.)
At the time of our visit, Jed was busy trimming his Leek seedlings ready for planting out, "topping and tailing" them with a pair of scissors. [Why a procedure like this is good, I know not, but that's what leek-growers have done for ages, and it evidently works.] He was also proudly showing me the place where he is about to plant four Marrows. Not many people are particularly enthusiastic about the culinary advantages of the Marrow, but Jed is obviously knowledgeable here, since he was waxing lyrical about the virtues of stuffed Marrow.
On a rather less attractive note, it was a bit depressing to hear from Jed about the instances of vandalism and theft that the Allotmenteers have had to endure, but then this seems to be a very common problem, judging by what many fellow bloggers write. Nevertheless, we both agreed that veg-growing has to be one of the most rewarding (and healthy) pastimes you could hope to participate in.
Thanks for the tour, Jed. I hope the Marrows produce some whoppers.