Thursday, 29 May 2008

Five rods is plenty

Being "older and wiser", we have therefore been very fortunate to find a local family to take on half the plot. They will work the 'front-half' of the plot (nearest in picture) and we will work the 'back-half'. We will do this entirely independently but I suspect (and hope) that it will be a bit of moral support for us all and witnessing progress on one half of the plot is bound to inspire effort on the other half (or it will become very depressing - time will tell). Both halves currently comprise: half a dozen red-current bushes, one bean trench with supports and nearly 5 rods of couch grass (had to look that up too, I think the RHS will prove to be essential!). It has probably been about 2 years since the plot has been worked.

Starting point

So this is what the plot currently looks like. It's 10 rods. I had to look this up. The Royal Horticultural Society are very helpful on such matters and provided the following information:

"Plot sizes are measured in rods, an old Anglo-Saxon unit so-called because it was the length of the rod used to control a team of eight oxen.

A rod is 5.5 yards (5.03 metres).

A chain = 4 rods = 22yd (20.12m) and is the length of a cricket wicket.

A furlong = 10 chains.

A mile = 8 furlongs.

An acre is the area of land that could be ploughed in a day, being a furrow long (furlong)and a chain wide, or 160 square rods.

Allotment plot sizes are usually five or 10 rods. A 10 rod allotment is 10 square rods in area, 10 x 5.5 x 5.5 = 302.5 sq yd (253 sq m).

In metric units, a 10 rod allotment is one fortieth of a hectare: in imperial units it is one sixteenth of an acre."

Right, that's cleared that up then. For anyone who didn't follow, our allotment is big. Too big for our needs and as you can see from the picture, it is currently in a rather wild state.

Second time around...

So, why are we doing it again? We are hoping that we are in a better position to succeed this time because:
  • We are older and wiser (!)
  • We're more determined this time and know more about what we're taking on
  • We have Abi to help us (!)
  • This allotment is at the end of our street - no car required
  • Surely we can't fail twice?!

So, we've got this allotment.....

First we must come clean. This is not our first allotment. We had one about seven years ago, maybe a bit more than that, certainly before we were married and before Abi (now nearly 6). Anyway, it wasn't an entirely successful escapade. We bought a wheel barrow and a few tools, drove to our plot (about a 15 minute drive), became quite overwhelmed at the overgrown jungle.......I can't actually remember getting around to doing any digging and several months later, admitted defeat and handed it back to the council. This is not, I believe, an uncommon experience.