Smaller allotment undergoes big changes

We finally got a new agreement from the Council for a new smaller allotment.  We are keeping the northern end of the old plot, now designated 4B.  In order to get more growing space we are removing two ash trees and will be cutting back a field maple.  The result will be more light on the growing beds, fewer tree roots competing for nutrients and water, and more room for another raised bed or two.  Wildlife will suffer a decrease in space, but we will still maintain a 10% tithe for wildlife in and amongst a short hedge, plus a woodpile against the north wall.

The plot from up a tree looks like this, only extending to the end of the beds Jackie’s finger are over.

jj-by-rowena-nov16

As seen from the other end:

4b-and-me-nov16-600-x-450

Middle tree much reduced, right hand one soon to go.

ash-rowena-and-me-nov16-450-x-600

Lots of firewood in production, everything under one inch diameter burnt on site in two long sessions.  Once the fire has a hold ash burns well even when just felled.  The above pic does not do full justice to Rowena, who spent a lot of time higher than that:

less-ash-and-rowena-450-x-600

That’s better!  Finally the new space, as it becomes clearer, is around the standing remains of the central tree seen below.  It will be better once the maple has been much reduced – may have to root-prune it to reduce vigour.  More bloody hard work, but cheaper than the gym.  Perhaps a peach against the wall?  And a bit of ivy for bees and a wren to nest!

north-end-4b-nov16-337-x-600

Under the current Tory imposed austerity Brighton council is trying to find ways to make allotments self-financing.  Apparently a 30% rent increase would do it.  As we only pay about £60 a year for a full plot I would be happy with that, but it is said that some would have to give up theirs.  Can that really be so?  Can £80 a year – under £1.60 per week – really put such good exercise and cheap food out of reach?

Back in 2014 Jackie weighed most of our produce, and then priced it by comparing organic veg prices in shops.  The overall value came to a heady £657.  Even if priced against the cheapest Aldi can sell, and after removing costs of seeds, fertiliser, string, bamboo canes and the occasional new tool even £100 a year would be a low rent.

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