As the allotment is going to be sidelined over the next few weeks because of the kitchen works, here are a couple of things I want to focus this season:
We are pretty much done with major building and changing on the plot for a good long while. The things I want to finish or sort in 2023 are as follows:
- Lay the patio
- Tidy up the boysenberry bed
- Get the raspberries supported
- Move the raspberries out of one of the beds to the back of the plot
- Move that bed, put a square bed in for another blackcurrant and give the blueberries some space to make netting the blackcurrant bushes and the blueberries
- Look after the shed, I have this grand plan that I’ll paint it once a month during the warm weather so I don’t stress about it in the winter and it looks better!
Mulch and cover.
Every year the weather is different but 2022 really showed us that climate change’s impact on the weather is going to cause instability. This year, we’ve had the hottest temperatures and some of the coldest on the plot. So I need to think a lot more about straw to mulch the beds with (for summer in particular and it won’t hurt in winter). I also need to fleece the frost tender things especially in the polytunnel)
I’m not sure about how I do this, but I need to be more consistent in my watering of beds in the summer. In the hot weather this year there were periods when I watered every day and that made a huge difference, especially to my tomatoes. So I need to work out a schedule and I need to think about saving water, maybe think about using ollas in the beds and the polytunnel and make sure that the things in pots have trays underneath them in the warm weather.
Grow things from seed
This was one of my goals last year and I failed. However, this year I need to try again, I may fail again but it’s worth a shot. The biggest thing for me is timing and I think once we hit March I’ll just sow everything I think needs it and keep going. Better to grow too much than not try at all.
More flowers is the plan for this year. I want the allotment to be a place where pollinators want to be and I want it to look pretty. Now you may be asking, as I’m pretty sure that my mother is right now, where are you going to put them? The plot is pretty full up. The answer is the wild area, the front of the plot and in the corners of things. There are some areas that we don’t walk much on so the edges of those paths can have flowers, the edges of beds, in an attempt to out compete the weeds I don’t want. It might not work, but I’m going to try…
The last year was a learning year for me on how to use the polytunnel. The sweet potato experiment was barely successful so I’ll grow them outside and I think I have a place that will work for that. The tomatoes in the poly weren’t as good as the ones outside but the seedlings did really well in the poly, I have two sets of shelves for seedlings, so I do need to do more of that. More successful were the melons and salads that I grew winter. So the list for growing in the poly this year in summer are melons, aubergines, peppers and some cucumbers. I’ll also sow some spinach and chard in the beds in spring and more tender plants and hardly lettuce in autumn and winter
I’m slowly getting better at composting but I think my key takeaway from this year is that I need to turn it more often and make use of the wood chip when it’s there. Another allotmenter bags wood chip in used compost bags and leaves it for a year and says that works well. So it’s something for me to think about!
I’m not sure I’ll ever be entirely on top of it but I do need to implement one weekend session on the plot each month entirely for weeding and see if that helps. Next month it might be every weekend because it’s so overrun!