Allotment Adventures: Year Seven

So we begin year seven on the allotment.

First days work ever

I signed up for a half plot in May 2016. Seven years later, I think the habit is going to stick. I have learnt so much and the plot looks completely different. The strip of soil in the picture above is where we planted the blackcurrant last week and the tank at the end is one of the hot boxes we grow squash in now, and in front of that is the rosemary bush! I don’t have a photo that shows the view but the photo below was taken in April and shows the line of blackcurrant bushes…

I’m grateful for the plot. I have found it helps my mental health, it gives me food, weirdly, it’s given me healthier nails and an appreciation for farmers. It’s changed how I shop, how I eat and what I believe about nature and the countryside.

How what did we do this week?

Guys, I have to tell you I did amazingly well with the grass. Do you remember in April, I was saying that the grass was really high and you could barely see the grape hyacinths and that I’d got some of it but needed to sort the bulb bed and the rose garden?

I hadn’t gone back and the grass has just got higher and it’s mostly rye grass and it had to be attended too. So I did it. Three 50 litre buckets of grass later (I’m so grateful for Ma, stopping what she was doing and coming and emptying the buckets as I went!) the front and the bulb bed was (more or less) clear.

By that point I was on a tear and did the same to the pond and rose garden.

Surprisingly, I wasn’t done, I decided it was time to get the plants in pots at the back in the ground or in bigger pots. I transferred some hyacinths I got in the winter into the ground by the others at the corner of the pond area. I put a bronze fennel the rose garden, and the other in the ‘wild area’, which went in with the only that sweet pea that survived the winter!

I planted some camomile lawn at the edge of the patio (something I’ve wanted to do for a while). I’d already put a roman camomile in the wild area and the other one, went in the corner of the alpine strawberry bed.

If you’ve followed my gardening progress, you’ll know I like to encourage some plants to self seed at the edges of beds and also to encourage things to grow over the edges of the beds and I’m starting to do that deliberately. All that to explain why I planted a pinata lavender and a lemon bergamot in the longer blackcurrant beds and, a creeping thyme in the corner of one of the winter squash beds. The lemon verbena went in a pot because I’m pretty sure that the big one on the plot died in the winter and the other lavender went into a pot for the moment.

Two of the four that will hopefully spread out and be a little green camomile scented ‘lawn’

Then Ma and I gathered some produce. Rhubarb, the last of the polytunnel leeks, coriander, parsley, mint and the chard before it went to seed.

I don’t want you to think that Ma did nothing because as ever she got to all the stuff I wouldn’t have got to and would have been kicking myself if I hadn’t done it. So the arches over the winter squash beds are all strung for beans, she watered everything that needed it, removed some pesky (and very prolific) dandelions, trimmed some plants that needed trimming, sorted out some beds and generally kept me on the straight and narrow.

One of the tulips Lu and Ben bought me back from Amsterdam (I really thought we’d killed them!)

We also got to admire some of our earlier work. Carrots, peas, beetroot and potatoes are beginning to show their heads. There are baby gooseberries, the blueberries are flowering like mad and things are beginning to look like they are coming back for summer. As does the bind weed…

New Lavender, I love the leaves

There do seem to have been some casualties though. One of the citruses is definitely dead, although one has a leaf, so lets see! The aforementioned lemon verbena, is not showing any signs of life and the cherry tree seems to be in the same state. I can wait another month before I go into full mourning for them!


So to the list:

  • Get all the compost to the plot – partially, I have about 20 bags to go
  • Weed and top up all empty beds – partially, all the beds in the new half of the plot have been done
  • Sow spinach and other salad next to shallots and in ex parsnip bed
  • Sow parsnips
  • Apply ant nematodes to polytunnel, blueberries and bulb beds
  • Module sowing for poly – brussels, kale, cabbages, cauliflower, parsley, basil, coriander, flowers
  • Paint the shed
  • Tidy the shed
  • Net the gooseberries and blackcurrants
  • Put up the poles for netting the blueberries
  • Finish weeding the front of the plot and shed
  • Trim the grass in the bulb bed
  • Strim the grass path – partially done, I did a bit more this week and will finish next week
  • Weed the paths and top up with woodchip if there is any available
  • Finish weeding the pond area, rose garden and iris bed
  • Mulch the pond area, rose garden and iris bed
  • Join the rose garden to the iris bed and plant out the area
  • Plant out the herbs from Urban Herbs
  • Finish the patio
  • Set up the arches for bean planting
  • Turn the compost bin

The priorities for next week are nematodes, grass path strimming, sowing the beds, module sowing for the poly and, netting and sorting the poles for the gooseberries, blackcurrants and blueberries. May is a busy time.

About nicdempsey

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