So back in distant time (ie. last Spring) I spoke to the local council about keeping bees on an allotment round the corner from my flat. After a period of emailing back and forth, they rejected my application. Which, you know, was a pain, but fair enough. They have quite a list of criteria for potential beekeepers!
One major thing that I was missing was my Basic qualification, and so after passing last year, I sent back a nice scan of my certificate, my original application, and my letter of recommendation from the apiary in Twickenham.
Reader, I have an allotment plot.
So this was the plot when we first saw it in February. By the time I had signed the agreement and got the key (yesterday) it looked a lot more overgrown…
Pictured here is Sheila the Shed – and I named her because as you can see, she needs a bit of love. As does the rest of the plot. It’s been lying dormant, really, for some time, as a damp corner plot that’s difficult to cultivate – which means that I’ve been very lucky in getting it, but also that there is a lot of work to be done making it workable!
After scoping the site on Saturday, we arrived early on Sunday morning armed with many bin bags to get rid of all the disintegrating plant pots and fossilized compost bags that were buried among the enormous nettle patches (which I really don’t think you can fully appreciate from the photo above – trust me, they are everywhere). I learned that nettles are very powerful early in the season, and that I should have brought more snacks with me as tidying up takes longer than I expected. We also discovered a massive patch of mint growing towards the darker, swampier end of the plot – this is very exciting! My bees may enjoy it, and I certainly enjoyed the smell of mint while we bashed through the plot looking for more rubbish to get rid of.
But we really focused our attentions on dear Sheila, who is due a face lift. Here she is now:
She’s beautiful! Still missing a wall, mind, but we’re going to work on that. We also discovered a large patch of gravel behind Sheila, which was totally overrun with nettles, but now that it’s cleared it’s looking pretty nice too.
All in all it was a good 3 hours of work, and as you can see, Summer has arrived and I was very glad we started work at 9am because by the time we left at midday it was at least 23C. And I was already hungry.
So this marks the start of the first of a series, renovating this plot, and setting up my first solo beehives! I’m extremely excited, and happy to have this lovely space – bit nervous about how it will all go, but so far so good! I hope you’ll keep reading.