At last, Saturday was a nice day and so was today. A bit colder but dry!
On Saturday I made my little enclosure for the leaf mould – very simple, four long pieces of wood for the corners and a piece of chicken mesh all around. Pinned to the ground and fixed to the posts, then filled with the leaves I collected from the allotment and the back garden. I will just keep filling it up and leave it for as long as I can.
Today, on Sunday, I was spending some time in the kitchen. First of all I had to cook the beetroot so I could pickle it and then, as an afterthought, made some pickled eggs. I love pickled eggs but always forget to make them. All is well now.
The weather forecast for today wasn’t particularly good but I decided to go down the farm anyway. There was a job to be finished and I managed to do that just as the rain started.
All in all I had countless wheelbarrows full of lovely crumbly soil. That got distributed all over the raspberry patch and on the other pieced of land next to them as that is the only part of my plots where I have some clay. This should improve it.
At the same time I have rebuilt the whole enclosure, also the one next to it and thus widened the little path. I can now fit the wheelbarrow to go through and it is looking much better.
To finish the job I emptied four sacks of horse muck on the new heap and also some of the stuff from the top of two of my composter bins. They were all full but I decided to put some of the freshest greenery on the heap and that’ll give me more space in the bins for smaller stuff.
All is done on this front so all I have to do now is to take the roll of the carpet and store it in the large communal shed and have it ready for future use.
Waste not want not….
I have a number of compost heaps on the allotment – and as I have three plots I have one at the end of each plot. So far I have turned two of these into new growing areas, because the soil there was just amazing, after 10 years in one case and about five in the other.
The latest project started yesterday when I uncovered the last heap – it was covered with an old carpet, just to stop nettles and suchlike growing on top. I was amazed – after five years the whole lot turned into a large pile of crumbly brown soil.
As it is right at the end of the plot, behind the raspberry patch, that was the easiest solution – use the new soil as a mulch because this patch hasn’t been fertilised recently.
I have cut them down and started emptying the heap. It was quite easy because when I constructed it I knew I would have to do this one day so I made my life easier. It worked. Surrounding wood taken off and a barrow after barrow was spread on the raspberries. Haven’t finished as yet – rain stopped play. Everything rotted down very well, all I found were some bindweed roots occasionally.
All the same, I managed to start a bit of rebuilding, I needed to tidy it and also to widen the little path. There is a bit more to do with the last pile of compost, that one will stay as it is for quite a while, there is too much wood on top for it to be useful. But the side will need to be straightened.
Another day then.
I had an idea that I’d like to have another greenhouse – more room to grow peppers and tomatoes. One day I was talking to Simon who has a large polytunnel on his plot. Due to circumstances he found it difficult to keep it in order and to cut a long story short he offered me a chance to use one half of it. Of course I said yes! We shall have peppers there and that way I shall have my two greenhouses to grow more tomatoes.
I went down my farm today in the afternoon and as it started raining I was able to dig the soil inside, water it and spread some horse muck in. Another job done!
Now I just hope for good weather so I can finish all my other jobs.
Today was another lovely day, there was work to be done so I had an early start.Yesterday I managed to pollard the ancient willow – well, three of the stumps and there were another three waiting. Also I had a very useful find in the very back of the plot where it just looked like another compost heap. The two guys who had the plot before me were equally untidy and instead of taking their plastic pots and bits of netting home to throw away they just dumped it there and covered with soil. Amongst all this lot I discovered a ladder – one of the old-fashioned ones, a wooden one and that came very handy yesterday and especially today. I was able to climb high up and trim one more of the stumps and then Frank came to help and finished it all.
Not only the tree is done but also I gained another growing area. There was so much good soil along the fence that I took a number of wheelbarrows off and put in on another part of the plot where the soil is a bit heavy. This has left a nice border, one end has got a palette to keep the soil in and along the path is a low fence. I shall grow squashes and a pumpkin there next year, they’ll have enough room to run.
I shall dig it over to find more rubbish and some unwanted nettle roots but otherwise it is ready.
Yesterday and today was maintenance time – trimming the back hedge. Amazing what can be done with just one bow saw and long-handled clippers!
I have so much more light on the plot now. It is the ideal time to do this job now as we’re ready to have a huge bonfire. Some of the cut branches fell between the fence and the hedge, an ideal habitat for the hedgehogs!
When I started working on my allotment those ten years ago I had to create a large heap of weeds and other unwanted things that grew there. It was quite large and didn’t look like doing anything useful. I contained it just by putting some large pieces of wood and planks and forgot about it.
This year the nettles grow on the top quite alarmingly huge so I thought the soil must be good underneath – they like rich soil.
Today was the day to tackle it and these photos will tell the story better than any words.
As it is just in front of a hedge I had to cut the overhanging branches and ivy, all the ten years I wasn’t able to get to it. All this was done just on time as we are building a huge pile of burnable material so this went there as well.
The last job was re-planting my crab apple tree that stood in front of this heap. I had an empty spot in my new orchard so it fitted there very well.
I’m happy. All I need to do in the next few days is to dig the soil very carefully the get rid of all the roots and then put some wood around the edges and create a new growing area.
The soil is very rich looking so now I have to decide what to grow there next year – courgettes or squashes perhaps.
I finished the job the next day, starting nice and early as the weather forecast was for rain in the afternoon – this is the result. All the saved pieces of wood and some broken paving slabs came very handy. I will just have to dig it over to take out roots and other bits of rubbish and all will be ready for the new pumpkin patch.
It is not just the allotment that keeps me busy, it is my back garden as well. I have an old mulberry tree there, it was given to me by my late mother-in-law when we moved to this house in 1973. I had to move it to this position after a few years as I could see it was growing rather large. In the last five or so years I decided to pollard it and that seems to restrict the growth. Basically I remove the new long branches every autumn and very often I can take a large bundle of them to the allotment, they would grow freely, nice and straight and serve as bean poles later. That’s what I call recycling!
By doing that it opens the garden and I can see my rescued chimenea and also the birds can get to their water and the feeding table.
Last of all I trimmed the old magnolia. There is a large fig tree in that corner and it needs cutting down to size – everything has grown like a mad this year – but that has to wait till at least January, now is not the time to prune fig trees.
This is the start, next will be cutting the reeds in the pond, topping up pots with extra soil – the list is endless.
I went to my ‘farm’ today first thing in the morning as the forecast said rain. As it happened, it was quite correct but I managed to do everything I wanted. It started to rain as I was going home.
First of all I put three bags of horse manure on each of my freshly dug pieces of land – I plan to grow sweetcorn there next year and then I harvested some veg for my friend next door.
The soil is great, hardly any weeds.
I also managed to dig in my new little orchard where I grew all squashes and pumpkins so that land is ready for next year too. I have to decide what to grow there next year.
Each time I pull some carrots and parsnips I wonder how I managed to grow them so big. I have been on the allotment for 10 years now and this is just about the best result!
It was a lovely afternoon after a gloomy morning, I divided my day quite well. In the morning I went to my local B&Q to get some more soil/compost to fill the new beds in my two greenhouses. After all, today’s Wednesday and us oldies still get 10% off on garden things. Loaded the car with five 50l sacks of peat-free compost, drove to the allotment and put two of them by the new greenhouse and the other three by the other one. Enough hard graft for one morning so it was time to go home and get lunch. Fortunately the sun came out and sky was blue – a perfect afternoon for a spot of digging.
The greenhouse was an easy task, I just had to empty the two bags of soil and it is all ready for next year’s growing.
Next came a bit more serious work – digging over the ground in my new orchard. The new trees have settled well and the ground was full of squashes and courgettes. Those were harvested earlier and today was just right time to tidy it all up.