After numerous attempts at planting various varieties of vegetables in pots or back gardens over the last few years I finally went after an allotment. I had spent plenty of time talking about getting one but after a couple of calls to the local councils where I was told the waiting lists were so big it would be decades until someone died and gave up their plot (no pun intended). So in Jan 2010 I Googled once again looking for plots and to my amazement two new allotments had opened near enough to my door. I emailed both to inquire and within 15 mins I had a call back from John who ran Glencullen Allotments. A few days later I was up selecting a plot and the hard work was about to begin.
Not really having a clue I set about designing my raised beds and rang about to find used scaffolding to make the beds with. Seed catalogues were reviewed and I seemed to be heading to the local DIY store and the nearby Saw Mill every second day (I kept all receipts for purchases but it scared me too much to think about how much I had spent so I haven't look at them and I am fairly sure I never will). Grow your own books were purchased and constantly reviewed as I tried to get a grip on what to grow.
Once the scaffolding planks were delivered, on what was a beautifully icy day where the truck couldn't reverse up the hill for all the mud, I got to work setting out the markers for the beds.
Not wanting to have to saw through the 2 x 8 planks I made do with their lengths and widths as the dimensions for the main beds. I attatched stakes to the ends and with help from my Dad (who wasn't long after a triple bypass) we got them into place and hammered them into the sod.
After being so intent on making raised beds I never gave much thought as to how to fill them. Being 24 feet long and 8 wide it was going to take a fair few wheel barrows to fill them. I got to work and dug up the clay next to the beds and wheeled in barrows of wood chips to make paths. It gave the plot a rustic look but made it practical when the weather turned sour, which is basically anytime in this bloody country.
So All the donkey work done it was time to start growing. I wanted to keep my patch organic and mainly plant Irish varieties. With this in mind I got onto Irish Seed Savers and the Organic Center. Little did I know what was in store: sleepless nights considering when and what to plant, worrying about frost and snow, every morning running out the back to check on seedlings. It was like having a baby. Instead of going for nappies it was down to the local garden center for compost. And just like a baby it wont be the first time ever again. Doesn't mean I will be able to sleep with the excitement next spring though!