Allotment Adventures: The neverending weeding

We’re at a tricky point on the allotment right now. I started in May, so had missed the window on lots of sowing, so this month most stuff is coming to an end, except perhaps the courgettes, or not started yet.

Which means it time to start thinking about longer term allotment goals and clearing up and more weeding. First clearing and construction.

Last week, we bought some more compost and some topsoil to fill the two raised beds (which resulted in Ma and I having to take it to the allotment at 6:45am on the wettest day of the week!)img_4949

On Saturday we cleared the sweet peas and peas and took down the metal frames put up by Joe’s father in law because they weren’t very safe (or they didn’t feel very safe). I did manage to bash myself with the falling metal as we were taking them down so I’m going with not very safe! One of the best things about getting the allotment has been becoming part of the community there, over the course of the 4 hours spent getting the frame down we had help come wondering past to assist with the tricky bits and there were two posts we couldn’t have got out without the expertise of other people!img_4957It makes a huge difference to the plot which doesn’t feel so cut up now, there still isn’t a clear barrier between my half and Joe’s but we’ve managed so far and we are going to put raised beds there so it shouldn’t be a problem.

On Sunday we were back for another four hours. We set up the other raised bed. We filled the first one with some compost and topsoil and planted garlic in it. We covered the two beds that have chard and salad growing in them to protect them from the pigeons, my pak choi is done for but I’m going to protect the spinach and chard!img_4972Ma did valiant work on the raspberries and they got another layer of compost. The bind weed and couch grass are perennial and the only way to win will be constant weeding, although I am considering planting mexican marigold down the middle as their roots apparently kill the bindweed and couch roots. In fact I’m considering planting it everywhere to help get the weeds under control!img_4973

The rain on Friday softened up the ground so I dug over the area where the french beans had grown and weeded again.

Then we weeded the beds and cleared up. Most of having an allotment appeared to be grind and the weeding is never ending, but looking from the bottom of the plot up to the main path, I feel that we haven’t wasted the five months we’ve been in charge. Someone described their allotment as their church, their gym and their community and it’s certainly been all of those things so far!img_4979Look at how tiny those sage and rosemary plants were in Mayimg_4340

Of course we can’t do everything at once and although we spent eight hours on the plot over the weekend, there is still lots to do. We need to weed at the top end of the plot next weekend. There are lots of the things we want to do, like the base for the shed, moving the gooseberry bushes and more raised beds which are dependent on money, weather and seasons and hiring a car!

So I’m starting to think a little bit smaller and plan in monthly chunks. So by the end of this month I want to have the following done

  • Tank at the top of the plot emptied cleaned and moved to join the other one by the herbs (my current working plan is to add compost and plant squash in them next year)
  • Weed the top of the plot and mark out the areas for wildflowers, poppies and the ‘patio’ area for the shed.
  • Plant bulbs around the plum tree.
  • Rhubarb moved
  • Raspberries re-weeded and covered in compost (one more time!)

By the end of October

  • Clear the courgettes
  • Dig over and weed the bottom of the plot again
  • Three more raised beds, (155cm by 100cm) at the bottom of the plot
  • One more 100cm x 100cm raised bed
  • Clear and dig over beds in the middle of the plot (the ones that are currently growing cherry tomatoes, runner beans, courgettes and the cucumber.
  • Sow a green manure into those beds.
  • Clean and put the bamboo canes away for the winter
  • Have all the rubbish on site burnt and the ash added to the compost

That and the regular maintenance of the plot, should keep me occupied. We’ll also having a Halloween Pumpkin Trail on 29 October, so I want to get my fairy lights out and wrapped around the plum tree for that, I’ll also need some pumpkins but I can’t grow those suckers in time so it’ll be a trip to the supermarket for me!

In November, I want to lay down sand, weed fabric and paving stones for the shed but I do recognise that that may not happen until Spring but I live in hope that we’ll get it done!


About nicdempsey

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