And so another allotment season begins. It’s the 10th year at Berryfield and, while there are still many jobs to do, the whole site is looking more mature year on year.
As usual, when plotholders begin to gather in the new season, there’s discussion about yet another peculiar winter – not really all that wet, and certainly not cold enough consistently to kill off the bugs, so there will probably be more slugs again, as well as the other beasties that nibble the crops.
And once again plotholders were tempted into planting and sowing early during an unseasonably warm and sunny March, only to be reminded that, as in previous years, it is followed by a cold and so far fairly dry, April.
But the nature doesn’t seem to mind. All round the site is a gorgeous wall of sound at the moment, with birds either staking out their territory, or trying to woo a mate, or both. And thanks to Stan and Peter, the wayleave alongside the site is once again looking stunning with alpines, daffodils, and tulips.
There is a new law - the Community Empowerment Act - which encourages communities to take control of their destiny a little more firmly, including requesting to own property and land which they feel can be better utilised. The committee applied to have the Berryfield site transferred from Angus Council (our landlord) to ourselves. This was felt by them to be pushing the intentions of the act a little too far (it’s still very new and everyone is learning), but in response the council suggested and then agreed to a request for a 99 year lease at a reduced rental, to effectively ensure the allotments for future generations. There’s still the legal process to go through – Government approval, and a new lease to be negotiated – but things are looking a lot more settled than the current rolling three year lease arrangement.