Five years ago I put my name down on the Council’s waiting list for an allotment. Simultaneously I became a Director of the Amisfield Preservation Trust, developing a walled garden in Haddington as a community garden. That’s been a very successful project, but not in my home town. I always wanted to develop a community garden in Dunbar, and I got the chance to do it through the formation of an allotments and gardens steering group, which I chair. I’m now working on two proposed community garden sites, while assisting East Lothian in promoting allotments in Dunbar. One of our projects has now taken off. It’s a kind of land share operation, where a local farmer and entrepreneur has agreed to lease part of one his fields for allotment development.
So now, having been on the waiting list all that time (and reaching No. 5 on it!) I’ve got the chance to offer plots in this private develeopment to those on the Council’s waiting list. At a stroke, we’ve got the chance to cut the waiting list in half. It feels good.The farmer has been very helpful, running a stone-picker over the ground (we’re using the stones as the basis for paths), and our team of volunteers has measured up the ground and marked it off into 43 plots of approximately 120 sq metres. On Sunday I picked my plot, and I’ve started to grow vegetables on it. Although it’s late in the season, I’m growing leeks, cabbage, broad beans, French beans, Chinese cabbage, lettuce, peas, onions and squash. It feels absolutely great. Here are a couple of site photos. You’ll note the railway line – this is the East Coast Main Line, and it’s amazing how quickly I’ve learned to ignore the whoosh of the high speed trains.
As you can see, there’s a lot of work to do, but I like that kind of work.