AUTUMN JOBS

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….

PATIENCE

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

POLYTUNNEL

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.

JOB FINISHED

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.

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I shall dig it over to find more rubbish and some unwanted nettle roots but otherwise it is ready.

MAINTENANCE

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!

WONDERFUL VEGETABLES

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.

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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!

AN AFTERNOON’S WORK

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.

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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.

ANOTHER PATH

This time I’m working on renovating a path between one of my plots and my neighbour’s plot. Dave hammered in some sturdy supports along the whole length of the path on his side – because our site is sloping down, there is a deep step between my plot and his. This path was always a bit problematic but I think we’ve sorted it out now. Dave has got some soil from his back garden at the back of his property so we’ve been taking it in wheelbarrows to the allotment. Fortunately he lives very near but all the same, it is quite tiring.

This will make our lives much easier from now.

DALEFOOT COMPOST

I needed to re-pot some of my tomato seedlings.  They were in pots with my new Dalefoot compost, the one called “double strength”. I was very pleasantly surprised how well the roots were formed.

 

These two tomato plants are now very happy in the greenhouse and many more will soon be ready to be moved. I’m delighted with the product and will be getting some more again.

A NEW WAY OF GROWING

Last week we went to visit our eldest son in the Lakes. As usual I did a bit of gardening there, weeding and cutting down old dry viburnum tree and, as the highlight of my stay, visited a nearby farm. I did read about them and heard about their produce but seeing it for myself was something else.

The farm is Dalefoot, they are in Heltondale and produce a large range of compost.

 

This particular compost is very good for growing tomatoes so I transplanted my seedlings into that. It says that it needs much less watering and I don’t have to feed it anymore. It is a winner on all fronts.