Not taming an allotment

I’m just back from a fast one hour dash down to the allotment in the rain. To do a spot of weeding? Err, no. My debit card fell out of my back pocket yesterday and I was certain I had lost it somewhere in the jungle. I just needed to check.



And frankly, I’m surprised the card wasn’t eaten by slugs overnight as it sat in the rain on the brick path.

Ive never seen such a happy slug colony. But that’s what happens when you abandon a lush garden for eight months.

And believe me, that’s a good shot.

I’m not sure I mentioned, but our little walled garden in the centre of a leafy part of London has been given a rude shock.

The council, kind and thoughtful as ever, decided to do a spot of soil testing of all their allotment sites over the vast council acreage.

And ours failed.

My plot has elevated levels of lead and some trace of arsenic. But oh boy, there are some nasties buried in corners. They think it was back when the site was given over to a plant nursery in the 1950s. What other decade was rife with people killing wasps with arsenic, cyanide and thinking not once not at all before dumping lead paint and other heavy metals in the soil?

Frankly, I’m amazed we didn’t score for asbestos as well.

The upshot is the whole area has to be redeveloped. And that means clearing the entire football pitch sized block. Ripping up all those fabulous fruit trees you see. Removing the soil. Laying down an impermeable membrane, importing soil, building walls. And then letting us back.

It will be so neat we won’t know what to do. And of course the rather thrilling upside to all this ghastly business means… no bindweed. No alkinet, no brambles, no invasive anything. Unless you count the slugs which will no doubt return with a vengeance as all the toad and frog ponds will go.

I was shocked to imagine this a blank canvas in the autumn. Mourned a bit.

But luckily I am able to pull up the preferred plants and transplant them elsewhere. Here is Alan taking away a wheelbarrow of loot.

And now I must break off and Attend to Matters. Not gardening alas.

When I get some spare time I need to move about 400 bricks from the paths and stack them ready to be shifted later.

Does that count as gardening? I doubt it.