Monday, April 23, 2007

Construction completed!

Boy, am I feeling knackered today. No one would seriously contemplate doing 7 hours of hard slog in the gym, so why do us gardeners do it on the allotment or in the garden?? (Because it is more enjoyable of course!)

One final push yesterday, saw the completion of the last two wooden raised beds. The last four at the southern end of the site (beds 6, 7, 11 & 12) have been made with bought pressure treated timber, as Freecycle did not have anything to offer.

The area was rotivated a week ago (2 hours) and 2 beds constructed. (2hours) I hired the allotment association’s rotivator for the bargain sum of £2 per hour and spent 2 hours wrestling with it as I tried to force it through the solid crust of clay. Although a cheap loan, there was no reverse facility and I had to keep the throttle full open to stop it stalling, so the peace of the Sunday morning (from 10am) was shattered for the allotment’s neighbours- sorry!

Yesterday I worked from 9.45 until 17.30 with only an hour off for lunch built the last 2 beds, laid the pathway fabric and planted 70 organic seed potatoes, leaving a gap for the sweet potatoes which have yet to arrive from T&M.
10x each of varieties as follows:
Charlotte, Orla, Valor, Desiree, Sante, Sarpo Mira, Pink Fir Apple.

I now have to stand up from sitting very slowly, as my muscles creak and cry out in protest!

83 Onions – started in modules- have gone into bed 9; 51 Red Baron and 32 Centurion. (30 spare Centurion to be fitted in else where)

The permanent fruit bed is made but not dug and my 2x redcurrant, 2x blackcurrant and 2x gooseberries are waiting to go in. The raspberry bed has been neglected and I might just see whether they crop this year. If not I will cut my losses and start again in the autumn with fresh new canes and re-conditioned soil

Bed 2, with over wintered garlic, shallots and broad beans is doing well, but has cracks in the clay that I can fit my finger into! It’s strangely exciting to see the pods forming on the beans, so I will have to start watering, if it doesn’t rain soon.

All we need now is some rain- whatever has happened to the ‘April Showers’? We’ve had no rain here in the south of England for the whole of April!

I’ve also been pretty busy in the garden at home, dividing perennials and filling in the gaps where last year I grew my wedding sweep peas. I’m aiming for a low maintenance garden with no pots which require watering daily.

We are planning on having the patio levelled, but can’t agree on exactly what to do! We can agree on the type & colour of the paving, but not on whether to keep the patio ‘L’ shaped or turn the far most bit in front of the camellia, into a raised bed.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Happy 1st Anniversary to Plot 26 and SWD

I’ve now been an allotment tenant for one whole year! I’ve yet to harvest anything except weeds, weeds and more weeds, but the construction of the wooden raised beds is almost finished and the over wintered broad beans, garlic and shallots are all doing well.

Just as a personal reminder to me more than anything- here is a picture of what it looked like this time last year and after a full day’s hard graft last Thursday.

Athough taken from different angles, it reminds me on how far I've come clearing the soil of weeds and building what I hope will be an imensely productive and not too time consuming plot in the future. My crops are all planned in a four year rotation with the spuds chitting on the north facing window sills at home- waiting to go in.
I plan to do 45 minutes of digging on my way home from work every day this week as the weekends just aren't long enough to fit everything in!