Last year was a terrible year because of the rain, and so far, this year hasn't been good because of the cold, but at last yesterday I made a start on one of my new allotments. On Pickards Field, I have moved from plot 59 to a smaller plot, no. 78. This was Old John's plot, but he is now too decrepit to work it, and Big John spent a lot of time last year keeping it up together for Old John. As Big John has two plots of his own, and has had umpteen heart attacks, he didn't want to have to do the same this year, so when he heard that I wanted to move from plot 59, he asked Old John if he'd consider handing the plot on to me. I got to know Old John well when I worked the Salvation Army plot, no. 77, and he knew that I'm a good gardener, so he agreed to let me inherit his plot. He said he would only give it up if I took it on. We went to the Council last year and signed all the papers. Since then, I'd only had time to transplant some raspberry canes and strawberry plants and sow some broad beans before winter set in, but someone rotovated about half of it for me in the autumn, and Nobby rotovated another quarter this week, so I've been able to start planting and sowing now without having to spend hours digging. Yesterday was just about the first nice day of the year, so I was able to put in a double row of spring-sown broad beans (Windsors), a row of Kelvedon Wonder peas (from saved seed), and a row of Jersey Royals (International Kidney) potatoes. I salvaged some compost from my old allotment (which no-one has taken on yet) to put in the potato trench and to put in the compost bin to get it going.
My other new plot is in Lechlade. The owner of the Antiques Centre, where I have a unit, owns the plot. It was cultivated by an old man who gave it up two years ago and died last year. Last year it was cultivated by an antiques dealer, who has since left the shop. It is in a sheltered, sunny spot and the soil is light and well-drained. Another of the antiques dealers has a rotovator and is going to rotovate the plot for me next week, so I'm feeling very lucky. His son helped me plant some strawberry plants on Friday, and I also transplanted a near-dead sage plant from my old allotment.