Pumpkin Soup

a weblog with an allotment attached

About this site

The Soup, the whole Soup and nothing but the Soup

Welcome to Pumpkin Soup, chronicling the highs and lows of our attempts to cajole a neglected allotment plot back to productive organic glory.

If you’re reading this page, then you probably want to find out more about who we are and why on earth we bother writing about our allotment. Either that or you’ve been directed here via a search engine as you look for something ludicrous, like ‘pornographic vegetables’ or ‘Charlie Dimmock’s pumpkins’, in which case you will be sorely disappointed. Or just sore. Here’s everything you need to know.

Who the devil are you anyway?

We are Clare and Owen and we have been tending our allotment in south Birmingham since August 2004.

Clare the allotment lass

Clare writes most of what you can find here because the decision to take on the allotment was largely down to her whimsy. She’s the one with the seed-buying, vegetable growing, and horticultural don’t-know-how. What she lacks in skill when it comes to growing things, she makes up for in enthusiasm. Most of the time.

Owen the garden assistant

Owen is the one with the stamina, so he’s the sweat behind the sweet peas, so to speak. Skilled at digging where and when he’s told, he has been known to write the occasional post here and he even has his own category, ‘An Assistant’s Notes’. He also designed and built Pumpkin Soup (he’s a Web Site Designer when not being bossed around at the allotment) and takes on the onerous task of proof reading every post.

Why are you doing this?

We used to have a big garden when we lived in Nottingham and surprised ourselves by successfully growing potatoes and not much else in it. When we moved to Birmingham we chose a lovely house but it had only a small garden. Tempted by the nearby allotments with their stunning well-tended plots, we decided to give it a go.

Where is this allotment?

We have plot number 102 at the Warstock Lane Allotments in Kings Heath, south Birmingham. There are still some spare plots there so if you’re local get in touch – we can probably fit you in.

Are you completely self-sufficient?

No. We’re just dipping our toes in the water, really. We compost, recycle, shop locally and generally try to reduce our carbon footprints as much as possible, and we enjoy ourselves in the process. But we also work for a living, so we’re not exactly Tom and Barbara Good. [Owen: Not exactly? Not at all!]

So what made you decide to start blogging?

Rather like the allotment, it seemed like a good idea at the time. The blog was born on 11 February 2005 and looked like this:

Screenshot of first Pumpkin Soup blog post, 11 Feb 2005

Also like the allotment, the blog has grown and developed over time. In January 2006, we started regularly posting photos alongside the posts (guess who received a camera as a Christmas present?), bringing some much needed colour to the site:

Screenshot of Pumpkin Soup blog post with photo! 29 Jan 2006

In October 2006, we started to get itchy fingers and decided that it might be time for a redesign. A number of regular readers and some new visitors responded to a plea for information about how they use the site. Despite ambitious plans to have the new site up and running for Hallowe’en or even Bonfire Night, real life got in the way and Pumpkin Soup 2.0 was finally launched in time for Christmas 2006.

Who am I and why am I here?

That’s a very good question. We know from the stats and from your comments that you are either someone from our family or group of friends; or you are a regular visitor to the site who today has got lost on the way to the latest post; or, possibly, you are here in search of a recipe for pumpkin soup – by far the largest group of visitors, most of whom don’t hang around.

So not just allotments, but recipes too, eh?

Indeed – and so much more besides. When the fancy takes me, I write about all sorts of non-allotment stuff. All the posts are categorised. ‘Hard labour‘ is all about when we’re actually working on the plot; ‘Fallow‘ contains allotment-related posts that don’t involve actually working down there; and ‘Mulch‘ is for general bits and bobs. ‘Music‘ is not about what we listen to (for that you need to check out ‘iPlot‘), but about our flute- and oboe-playing activities. ‘Italiano‘ covers any mention I occasionally make about my attempts to learn Italian. ‘This much I know‘ contains all the posts with that name – usually just an excuse to post a photo I’ve taken that I really like. Most of the other categories are self-explanatory or have fallen into disuse.

Can I tell you what I think of your site?

Absolutely. Whatever your reason for visiting, we’re very interested to know what you think of Pumpkin Soup, so if you would like to comment on what you read here then use the link at the bottom of each post, or send us an e-mail. Constructive criticism is welcome, compliments are lovely, but most of all we’re just interested to know who you are and why you’re here (see above).

We usually try to respond to comments on the site, so it’s worth popping back to see what we think of what you think. Of course, if you make obscene or offensive comments then we will remove them from the site. Stories about anatomically-shaped parsnips are probably borderline.

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