‘Unacceptably weedy’

allotment letterI’m sad tonight. I got this letter today.

I’ve been on this allotment site seven years. I’m not one of the oldest people there, but I’m one of the longest serving. I produce crops every year and often they’re ‘best in class’. In short, folks know I’m serious.

Then I get this.

It’s true that the plot IS weedy and I’ve not been there much in the last month. Readers of this blog will know some of the reasons: in-laws visiting, heavy workload, two weeks of bronchial problems and rain coinciding with my free moments. I certainly don’t deny the plot isn’t looking its best as a result.

But here’s the thing: Anybody who knows anything about my record on this site (and lots do) should have assumed that it was a temporary glitch and not got in touch until much later. Certainly I’m stunned that I’ve got this letter after just a month of inactivity.

I was angry at first. Now I’m just sad – sad that my fellow allotmenteers are so quick to ‘grass me up’ despite my record on site.

I often say that the worst thing about getting older is the growing sense of disappointment with oneself and other people. Today was a big disappointment spike. Disappointed with myself for putting myself in this position. Disappointed by my colleagues’ intolerance.

Of course rules are rules – and you’ve got to draw the line somewhere. So I’ll use this as a wake-up call, and tidy it pronto. If it must be pristine to keep ‘em off my backs, it will be. I’ll sleep even less… but I value my plot and am grateful for it.

I’ll not see my neighbours in the same light again, though. They wouldn’t give an inch, and now I daren’t. Neighbours are apparently to be distrusted. So I’m withdrawing from the smiles and the chats.

Which I guess makes us all the losers.

Posted on 12th August 2011
Under: Uncategorized, Weeds | 29 Comments »

Sod the weeds, feel the vegetables

weedsI did promise you some hot weed action. So, in keeping with this blog’s tradition of ruthless honesty – even (especially?) when it’s all going tits up – here’s a picture of the Dark Side of Soilman’s allotment.

Yes, my friends, I am human (“very fucking human” – Mrs Soilman). There is bindweed on my plot. There is couch. There are nettles, and thistles, and brambles, and Fat Hen, and a thousand others besides.

But you know what? I don’t give the tiniest shit. It’s not a beauty contest. It’s just about one thing: the veg. Provided I get enough to feed us from time to time (regularly would be a bonus), I’m a happy bunny.

Here endeth the lesson.

Posted on 29th June 2010
Under: Rants, Weeds | 11 Comments »

Weeding, weeding, bloody weeding

I went to the plot tonight to water and ended up weeding for 45 mins. Again.

Which, given that I’ve done nothing but weed for weeks now, is remarkable. Thistles, in particular, blow my mind. One day, you have a batch of just-weeded, bare soil. Literally three days later, there’s a large thistle growing in it.

The worst bit is the sure and certain knowledge that by removing the thistle, you merely make space for its inevitable replacement. They come in battalions, and they never surrender.

Doubtless my gravestone will have a fucking great thistle engraved upon it. “RIP Soilman, you sad bastard: We got you in the end”.

Posted on 3rd June 2010
Under: Weeds | 20 Comments »

Back in harness

Weeds on the plot No weeds left

Time to write about gardening. You know, with soil and vegetables and shit. The reason I started this blog in the first place and the topic I’ve covered for the last three years.

Ahem.

Kind of fitting that the subject is weeds, because I’m reaping what I’ve sowed this year. Little activity = LOTS of weeds.

There’s a good six weeks’ work to get the allotment back into shape. Expect to hear a lot of whingeing about digging, back ache and filth.

PS I’ve added CAPTCHA to the comment system – my hashcash ‘solution’ was occasionally deleting comments that weren’t spam. Please let me know if it works!

Posted on 11th October 2009
Under: Weeds | 3 Comments »

Overgrown and underloved

Overgrown and weedy plotI may have let things get a touch out of control here. I dunno, though… is that a bit harsh?

Thing is, owning this ‘extra’ bit of land has pressurised me a bit. I’ve simply not had the time to look after it properly.

*Note to self: Don’t be a lazy bastard in 2010*

Posted on 17th September 2009
Under: Weeds | 10 Comments »

Onion sets sending up shoots

Onion sets sproutingThe onion sets are sprouting nicely. Only three got pulled up by birds, which is a result; most years I can count on replanting 30% thanks to the magpies.

Less good news is that weeds are already rampant. I’ve decided that the World’s Worst Weed is definitely couch grass.

I know, I know: Marestail is ineradicable, but at least it’s fairly easy to control. Ditto brambles and nettles, which both hate determined cultivation.

Couch, on the other hand, is the Daddy of weeds. I hack it up, grub it up, pull it up and rip it out. I burn it, bury it, hoe it and bin it. Couch destruction figures in my dreams.

But there it always is, waiting for me every time I visit the allotment. On my plot, Couch is King.

What’s your most loathed weed?

Posted on 10th April 2009
Under: Alliums, Asparagus, Weeds | 11 Comments »

Digging brambles

Bramble roots More bramble roots

Took advantage of the sensational weather on Sunday to start digging my new land.

Almost immediately wished I hadn’t. God, in His infinite wisdom, has chosen to bless me with ground that’s heaving with bramble roots as thick as your thumb. And the ‘soil’ is basically compacted clay. The kind that forces you to sit on the spade handle to lever it up.

I collapsed, utterly shagged out, after just an hour. At this rate, I’ll be turning the last clod when the first ice crystals form on the innermost circle of Hell.

Posted on 17th March 2009
Under: Spring, Weeds | 20 Comments »

The weedy truth

Unkempt part of my allotmentEverybody has a skeleton in the closet.

Mine’s in the middle of my allotment – a dreadful, weedy, unkempt patch of horror that used to be the root vegetable bed last year.

Cunning camera work has kept it invisible hitherto. But now I’m ‘fessing up.

I haven‘t done all the digging and I’m not ready for Spring. So laugh, point fingers and take the piss. Do your worst. I deserve it.

PS The first Soilman experimental live webcast will start here on Sunday 8th Feb at 7pm GMT. I’ll give dangerous answers to beginner gardening queries. Or you could just tune in to take the mickey.

Posted on 7th February 2009
Under: Roots, Winter | 5 Comments »

Weed it and weep

Couch grass

I cannot tell you how sick I am of weeding this part of my allotment. I’ve moaned in this blog about at least four major weeding sessions here this year.

But it needs another one.

The problem is the wilderness backing on to my plot. The brambles and couch are always threatening to encircle me in an evil flanking attack. I fight a desperate holding action 24/7.

However, good news: it looks as if the battle may shortly be won. There are exciting developments on our allotment site. Details shortly.

Posted on 2nd November 2008
Under: Weeds | 1 Comment »

Reclaiming the plot

Overgrown plot

Responding to Pumpkin Soup’s invitation to ‘fess up, here is my own embarrassing little secret: The horribly overgrown rear of my allotment.

Shamefully, this is the same area I cleared of weeds back in July. I got lazy and it went native… again. Only this time, the brambles got involved as well as the couch grass.

Result: Pure hell. Spent yesterday clearing it and am now scratched to hell by thorns.

What a misery this ‘summer’ has been.

Posted on 15th September 2008
Under: Weeds | 4 Comments »