Friday, February 26, 2016

Allotment levels - I'm saying no more after this

The Secretary emailed me to ask about the meeting I had with the Council Allotment Officials last week. Here's my reply:

"Yes I met with two men at my plot, can't remember their names or exact roles now. Coincidentally, a few days before I had found the drain the council laid in my plot a year or two ago, and begun to use it as the overflow for my new pond. They confirmed that this ran out into the main drain in the lane outside, and it was appropriate to use it as I was. They seemed to think I was doing everything possible to manage the situation on my own plot. I think so too, but we'll need to see how it's all working over the coming growing season, and when next winter's storms come. I'm keen now to finish off the last of the levelling of beds, and get stuff actually growing again - I don't think bare earth is good for drainage.

"When I let them in they commented that plot 50 (is it? the one opposite the community hut?) which was flooded in December would continue to flood because its bed is below the level of the path.

"They also said that in old-established allotments like ours, it was very noticeable how the levels of individual plots had moved up or down over the years. Plots whose level has gone below the historical average level will be liable to flooding. That definitely rings true for mine, which is why I've spent all winter trying to get it back to its original level, moving earth from areas where it had accumulated, back to other areas which seemed to have been scooped out."

Et voilĂ . I don't know how or why, but over long periods, allotments get shifted into peaks and troughs. Mine certainly did, witness the old brick path I found below a foot of earth. But the land was once almost certainly fairly level farmland, before being turned over to allotments, draining well enough for agriculture. To stop water collecting, dig a pond to draw off any excess, (I've borne in mind that the rainfall now is likely heavier than it was in 1917), and get the plot to its historical level in accordance with the surrounding area. Or, stop whinging and get a shovel in your hands.

I feel now like I've just completed the Drainage module for a degree in Allotmenteering, from the Glasgow East End University, School of Horticulture. Hmm. Whatever. I just want to get the levels sorted out the next couple of weeks, and get on with cultivation at last.