How Jo transformed her Burton Ridge allotment into a beautiful and productive garden – in two months.
When Jo was allocated an allotment on Burton Ridge two months ago, it looked like this:
Her hope was to create a wildlife friendly space to support her organic food growing.
She had previously had an allotment in which she had done the conventional allotment approach to straight beds and growing in rows, and she decided this one would be a bit different.
As she cleared the site, with the help of three friends who were sharing the plot, she retained many of the wildflowers, creating a designated wildflower bed for them.
It was sad to displace all the the ladybirds and insects and wildflowers when we cleared the site. I want to build that back over time.
The first thing they built was a pond.
A pond is such a staple for a wildlife garden, as a habitat for frogs (nature’s own slug control!), a water supply for birds and mammals, as well as being a thing of beauty.
The second task was to build a shed and install an IBC for water storage. Initially they filled the IBC with water from the allotment tap, but in due course it will collect rainwater from the shed roof.
It didn’t take long to get to know their neighbours. “You learn a lot from the older allotment holders,” Jo points out.
Before long, Jo agreed with the people on the adjacent plot to share the shed with them. In return, the neighbours gifted them a couple of raised bed frames.
And this seems to be the general spirit of the site. “We get eggs from one of the other allotment holders,” Jo tells me, “and take him old cabbages and things for his hens.”
You learn a lot from the older allotment holders.”
“Everything has been given to us,” Jo tells me, “the only thing we have had to buy so far has been the hose attachment!”
The first couple of weeks we were here all day every day, Jo explained. Possibly one of the best ways to spend lockdown – but it was hard work. It was completely overgrown.
In addition to clearing the weeds, digging a pond and building a shed, they have created a network of paths, built terraces into the slope, dug vegetable beds, and created a compost bay made of reclaimed pallets.
“I made a plan for the garden before starting work,” Jo explains, “but you learn about the land as you work on it, and things find their own place.”
An example of this was the little seating area in a shady nook. As they worked in the sun, it quickly became evident how essential that was!
“My plan didn’t happen, but I’m so happy that it didn’t!”
I asked Jo for one piece of advice:
It’s so important to attract pollinators to the allotment, keeping native wildflowers and non-invasive species is particularly important for veg growing and so easy to do! Just grab a packet of wildflower seeds from your local shop and let nature do the rest.Jo Cliff, Burton Ridge Allotments
If you’d like an allotment in Lincoln, you can apply via the the council website. Most sites have a short waiting list, and some have vacant plots available immediately.
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