After several weeks' delay I finally turned the first sod in my new allotment in the community garden down by the river.
And what a joy it was.
Drive in the fork and gorgeous loamy stone-free soils simply lifts up and turns over. Just like it should. I nearly cried with relief.
Every spadeful I turn here in the bush backyard is a hard-fought battle with hard or sticky clay, splinters of shale, and crap from the house construction forty years ago.
In the new patch, however, it's well-loved soil in a raised bed, far from eucalyptus roots and safe from rabbits.
So I divided the rhubarb in my backyard and took three new crowns along to plant in the allotment, plus broadbeans and onions to sow. Needless to say, when I got there, I found that the clump of rhubarb already in the corner of the patch needs dividing as well. I think I'll have to start a rhubarb farm.
I'll leave much of the rest of the patch fallow for the winter until there's no danger of frost, and then plant some spuds. I don't know what's been planted there previously so it may need a rest.
It really feels like luxury to have so much room and so few soil hassles.
The community garden is very well set up, too, as I suppose they all are. It's a growing (pardon the pun) movement, but of course allotment growing is a traditional post-war past-time in Britain, where people have such small yards.
Our community garden has water tanks and a glasshouse (though it doesn't seem to be in use at present), a shed with a great range of communal tools, a gazebo and cubby house for a bit of relaxation, and even a barbecue for working bees.
If you have spare seeds, you add them to the seed exchange box and share them around - I tried out some different sorts of onions to mix with those I'd brought along. There are also collective herb and fruit plantings around about, and a gorgeous compost system which made me deeply jealous.
So if you have trouble growing food in your backyard, or would like the experience of communal growing, a community garden is a great option. They are dotted all over the place, but especially in the cities.
Other things to plant or sow during June include:
- Silver beet or rainbow chard
It's also time to prune roses, cut back perennials (be brave!) and move or plant any deciduous trees or shrubs such as bare-root fruit trees and roses - more roses.