The weather is still fine so I was able to continue with my winter dig. Most of one of my plots is almost done, there is only a small patch left. When I felt tired after digging I started another job – greenhouse washing. I did the inside the other day when rain stopped play and I finished the job today. The days are getting longer, I was able to stay on the allotment till just after four in the afternoon.
Today is the second of January, another year gone and I’m ready to start one more year of enjoying myself on the allotment, growing an amazing range of vegetables. I have finally harvested the last of the carrots – they are not perfect but the taste is great. I have to cut and peel them, however they look so it doesn’t make much difference. The freezer is full of chopped carrots, ready to be used in stews etc, also grated carrots ready in small bags just enough for a carrot cake.
I also pulled out some leeks, that emptied one of the beds and as it was a nice afternoon, just the weather for digging, I did just that. If I do a bit each time I go there I will be done in no time.
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.
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.
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.
The weather is on my side, digging is almost done.
I managed to burn most of the cut down raspberries and any other bits and pieces so it was a clean up day today.
Just about a third of this patch is left to dig and then all is done – that is until the weeds grow again. I have been working this piece of land for a good few years and the bindweed is holding on in there….
The next job was inside the fruit cage. Some of the currant bushes are getting past their best so I have decided to rejuvenate some. One each year will be just about right. I dug out one red currant and replaced it with a white currant. Managed to get it by chance in B&Q for £1 – I already have one and wanted to have another one for ages. Their flavour is lovely.
Today is the last Sunday of the year and the weather was very mild, almost like in the spring. I keep working on the allotment as long as the weather allows me. I have been lucky, the soil on out site drains very well so I can get on with my winter digging.
This is a part of my friend’s plot – he had a lot to organise at home and I offered to do some of his digging. Iust love digging!
Next job was to finish tidying the permanent courgette and squash structures. There were not too many weeds – surprise! – and I put a layer of the wood chip on the paths between them, that way I can walk there even on a wet day.
Just as I was finishing this my friend Dave came and told me that we are going to be putting together my greenhouse. He told me he’ll help when I first got it. I have been looking for another greenhouse for quite a while – one is just not enough as I’d like to have a go at growing water melons and more aubergines. There were moments when I thought that I made a mistake, all I saw was an organised pile of glass panes and the dismantled skeleton. It is nice to know somebody who knows exactly what to do with all this….
All I have to do now is to give it a good scrub – it has been lying there for a number of weeks, get some more clips to fix the panes of glass and build a couple of raised beds inside.
Watch this space.
After a few days of rain today was a reasonably dry day. Quite a mild day so after sorting the kitchen out – as quickly as possible – I went to the allotment. I managed to do quite a bit of digging during the autumn and there are only a few patches left. I’m happy with the piece I did today, during this found a good few parsnips and now the ground is ready.
There’s only one net cage to sort out and gradually harvest the remaining parsnips and I’m ready.
Of course, there is the greenhouse to build – a winter challenge. Watch this space!