Allotment Adventures: It’s all coming together

Having a week off work didn’t not mean that I didn’t work, over the 9 days (inc weekends) I wasn’t at work I spent 4 and a half days at the allotment.

It’s beginning to feel like we have a plan for the allotment and it’s not feeling like a slog against the weeds. That doesn’t mean that the weeds don’t have to be fought, it’s just that for the minute it doesn’t feel like an overwhelming struggle. Also I say we, I have a plan, Ma talks me down and eventually I arrive on something that fits AND we can afford!

I get to the planning later but first here’s what we did.

Weeding at the top of the plotimg_4752In this case, what Ma did. Look at that. 3 weeks ago it was full of dying afgan poppies and weeds. The shed is going up this end of the plot and we are going to extend the rhubarb at the top because although there are people in the world who think you can have too much rhubarb, I am not one of them..

Woodchip on the paths and fencing in the herbsimg_4773 There was a delivery of woodchip on Wednesday and I managed to cart about 10 wheelbarrows of it to the plot to properly mark out the paths. For some of that it’s over weed fabric and at the sides just straight on to help suppress weeds. Also by the pile of woodchip were some logs going begging and eventually (once I get my saw back) I’ll trim them better and bed them in, for the moment this is to stop us treading on the dill and coriander so it can grow!

New Bedsimg_4747The L shaped bed with runner beans and the cucumber and peas is now a U shaped bed. The new bed has late sowings of beetroot, chard and mixed winter leaves. That left us almost at the end of the plot and so I moved the storage box and made another small bed. Say hello to the strawberry bed! The plants are from runners that the 3 volunteer plants put out and I thought we’d give it a go. I do plan to have another strawberry bed but for the moment we’ll give this a try.

Weeding the raspberriesimg_4726The raspberries are in need some TLC and weeding, so we started. My aim is to get the give all the raspberries a haircut, get rid of the dead wood, get worst of the weeds up and put a thick layer of compost over the bed.  Once that’s done, I’ll tie up the canes, we’ve re-engineered the fence and made it a bit more stable (although still ramshackle!), if there is anymore woodchip delivered, I’ll going to use that as a mulch to help keep the weeds down and retain moisture. We’ll also going to re-site some of the canes. These raspberries are at least as old as me and it might be that it’s time to remove them and start again but first we’ll see if they just need some help to thrive.

The raspberries aren’t yet weeded and I’m hoping to get them finished next week but this is a nice lead up to the things that need to be done but can’t be done now.

Plum tree, it needs a haircut, I want to remove the branches that are crossing over and have a think about how to prevent bugs.img_4376

Shed area and top of the plot. We have a plan for where the shed is going to go. We need to move the tank full of nasty water, a rhubarb plant and the lavender plants that I put in (the wrong place) last year. Then, that section needs to be weeded over before we lay down sand, weed fabric and paving stones. I’d like to get that done before winter because I don’t want to be doing it in January/February when I’ll have the money to buy a shed. I’ll like to get going on all of it asap but, I’ll need to money and a car and possibly a wheelbarrow just to start with, and there is no point weeding only to leave it bare and open to more weeds because we don’t have the stuff to lay down and suppress the weeds! And the rhubarb can’t be moved just yet! One of the things that Ma and I also want to do is have a chamomile lawn, just a little one, which is for next year or maybe even the year after!

On the other side of the plot, we are intending to move the gooseberry bushes from the side and out in front of the raspberries, this is so they don’t get weedy and overgrown and so we can keep the pigeons off them. The rhubarb in the corner will get some friends and we’ll plant bulbs around the tree and at the front. I’ll also sow wildflowers and poppies up here but we will need a strategy for keeping the grass under control and not letting it take over! img_4758

Bottom of the plot. img_4767This was the first area we dug over and planted stuff into. We have herbs, rosemary, sage, thyme, oregano and mint (in a bucket). They have all grown like mad and I’m going to have to move some of them to give them more space. We also have a box full of weeds that are slowly decomposing and I need to think about how I handle that but more importantly this end of my plot meets Joe’s. Joe is lovely but we have very different approaches to gardening. He likes things in rows, is not that concerned about the weeds and digs everything over every year. I like things in controllable beds and Ma does not like weeds, also I don’t want to have to dig over the entire plot every year because I am lazy! We also have an issue with where my plot stops and his begins which isn’t a major issue but I don’t want a line of weedy packed earth every year. We also have a non productive blackcurrant and gooseberry bush down there that is totally bindweed infested.

My solution to this, (I think) is going to be a lavender hedge. Lavender is good for bees and I like it, I’ll plant in right over in my space so if it spreads it won’t be encroaching on Joe and it’s a clear marker. I just need to find out about when is best to do this and to dig a bunch of grit and sand into that section. There are some more perennial herbs I’ll like to plant and I also want to plant parsley and borage in small beds, like the dill and coriander.

Where the peas and sweet peas are now, I’m going to pull up the rickety frame and I’d like to make one long narrow bed or series of short narrow beds. The blackcurrant and gooseberry bush I’m going to leave but I will be weeding, mulching and giving them a haircut and we’ll see how they go next year.

In three and half months, I think we’ve done well, we’ve been lucky with the weather, had no major failures and more courgettes than we can count. But we have gone from thisimg_4347to this but the joy of any garden seems to be that the work is never done!img_4770



About nicdempsey

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