MORE CLEARING OUT

There is a narrow strip of ground at the very end of one of my plots. When I took this plot on it was overgrown with nettles and basically used as a tip by the last gardener. I cleared it as much as I could and by doing that found quite a few interesting things – an old wooden ladder, still good to be used. The other bits of rubbish I threw away, broken pots and some netting. I planted a couple of my Maltese pumpkins there and they loved it so much they climbed all the way to the top of the hedge behind. However now I have harvested everything and decided to dig this area properly this time.

I didn’t realise the challenge waiting for me there. When I finally finished I had a large rubbish sack full of more broken plastic pots, some chicken wire netting and a big piece of some material buried really deep that didn’t show any signs of deterioration – no idea why it was there. One item is interesting though – a head of a cast iron rake minus the handle. I won’t try to re-assemble it, just keep it as a curio.

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After a hard morning’s dig the land looks great, ready for next year. All I have to do now is to spread a sack of horse muck and let it rest. There will be potatoes growing there next year.

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KEEPING FIT

I am sure that I have found the perfect way to keep fit – it works for me, anyway. It means that I have to walk a short distance to our allotment site, about five minutes away, lock the gate after myself and start working. As long as it doesn’t rain too much I can continue. If the soil should be too wet I would choose a different activity from digging.

Today was just ideal – a nice sunny and warm morning – I managed to do what I wanted to during the morning, the next job was left for the afternoon.

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This isn’t actually my plot, it belongs to a guy who isn’t very well so I dug it for him. I had an ulterior motive – I wanted to get rid of all the thistles before they finished flowering so we don’t get the seeds blown all over the site. Job done.

The afternoon session was work on my own plot, it was weeding one of my raspberry patches. I had to borrow a wheelie bin from one of my friends in the street as the ground was full of bindweed and that can’t go on the compost. I finished just in time, there were dark clouds gathering and when I got home it started raining.

COVID – 19

I am very fortunate having my allotment so that I can just go there and dig. I’ve come to the conclusion that I am not going to worry about things that I can’t do anything about. Therefore I just concentrate on the ‘farm’ and cultivate as much as I can. We are not able to eat it all, of course, but the neighbourhood benefits, I bottle and freeze as much as I can. It will all be very useful. When I work there I listen to the birds and talk to my own resident robin. He really thinks I dig the ground just for him so he can find all the worms. He is very tame, he keeps only a few steps behind me. I sometimes think that nature was especially good to me this year, the harvest has been great.

Even though I’m getting older I am still quite fit and well and really enjoy working the land.20201019_115259

One happy old woman.

AUTUMN

Here we go again – another autumn, another clear out operation. My plan is quite simple – I aim to complete one task each time I go to the allotment. Yesterday it was clearing out one net cage and weeding (again) a bed after garlic has been harvested some time ago.

Today was the turn of the orchard. Managed to weed, hoe and re-do the stepping stone path in front of the shed, I’m happy with the result.

Another job I finished today was weeding and digging inside one small net cage. I had some broad beans there, they did very well, no sign of any blackfly, then I put some tomatoes and celery in. The tomatoes have finished, just the celery remains.

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Yesterday was quite difficult. I have decided to put a scaffolding plank as an edge to a narrow strip of soil beside this net cage, to keep the soil in, and making it deeper. I knew the planks are heavy, but I didn’t think they were this heavy! Too late to change my mind when I was half way down the main path dragging it behind me. Never mind, it all ended well.

DIGGING

My prefect therapy in these difficult times is digging on the allotment. It is one activity that I don’t really have to think about, just dig….I think of it as if it were meditation.

It is easy to plan the next year’s growing, think of things to do next, listen to the birds – all in all a tonic for the soul.Never mind the weather, as long as it is nor raining I can dig. Our site doesn’t get waterlogged, it drains very quickly. Even on a wet day I can work in one of my greenhouses. Talking of greenhouses, I’m very happy, I have acquired yet another one, a third one. The same size as the other two, also a rescued one. It actually belonged to an old lady whose garden was next door to our site. It wasn’t too difficult to move the dismantled structure over the fence. As it is such an old one I will need to get some new panes of glass but that is no hardship….Now I can plan what to grow in them. Easy – one will be just aubergines, the next one peppers and chilies and the third will be tomatoes.

AND FINALLY

Today is a bit special – I have finished all my digging, any empty piece of land is dug over, cleared of weeds and ready to be planted up.

It was the very last part of the allotment, my new orchard. The ground there will be used to grow courgettes, squashes and pumpkins. There is enough space between the trees, I had them there last year and it worked very well.

 

All that work didn’t really take too much time, it was just a question of turning the soil over and getting rid of some persistent weeds.

One more activity today, rather easier –bread making. This loaf is very easy, doesn’t need kneading or yeast, just a can of beer. Delicious!

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3. APRIL

Today would have been the first day of our holidays – we were going to go to London and in the nest few days would have been in Prague. Hey ho, perhaps next year.

Instead of that I have been filling my days with work on the allotment. The weather is dry, reasonably mild with the promise of a lovely weekend.

It was back to digging today. There is not much left to do so I decided to tackle the biggest piece.

Plot for beetroot

Two hours later and this was finished. Time for a coffee break and then on to the next piece, this time it is between some fruit trees. This land got quite compacted because I had to walk on it as I was building the sides of the paths. All is well, ready for growing.

There is one more area left to dig and that will be done tomorrow.

 

CONTINUATION

I started working on this plot yesterday, did quite a lot and knew that the hard graft will have to continue. I was secretly hoping that I’d be able to finish digging this patch today.

I had to construct one more bean wigwam, that finished the line very neatly.

After doing this, some hard digging was due. I already had a strip of land ready for planting leeks – there was used to be a line of raspberries (altogether in the wrong place but I inherited it like that). They were getting past their best so I didn’t mind getting rid of them. I put loads of horse manure there, the soil was a bit starved and the leeks will do well in there.

Everything else is done on this patch, it will be parsnips and perhaps carrots, if I have some space left. I have got some land earmarked for carrots already but you can’t have too many…

I was glad I started nice and early today – soon after 9am – it was 12.20 when I finished and I allowed myself only a short coffee break.

To be continued tomorrow, there is more land to be got ready – after all, I have got three and half plots…..

It keeps me sane

THERAPY

I said it in the past and I say it now – going to the allotment is better than any therapy for me. I can self isolate, even on my way there and back, it is only about five minutes from my house and when I’m there I am in my little paradise.

Yesterday and today were devoted to digging and getting the land ready for sowing. I did my winter digging everywhere on my plots during the autumn and winter but this was to incorporate the horse muck and refresh the land where I had to walk on it (getting the top net for the fruit cage all square etc)

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This piece of land was quite compacted but all is well now, ready for planting my potatoes.

Today’s effort was slightly bigger, it also helped that we had a shower of rain last night. This will be for carrots

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and the final piece is ready for leeks. My leeks did very well last year, it was the Mammoth variety and they were very tasty.

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2. MARCH

After the gales and downpours of the past few weeks it was quite pleasant today working in the sunshine. Blue skies and a gentle breeze, it was a welcome change. Fortunately I have done all my digging already so I could concentrate on maintenance. I managed to finish edging one path, ready for some more wood chip and then started clearing my large patch of raspberries, cutting them down. I usually do it in the autumn but I was too busy last year so left it for now. It will be interesting how they will fruit.

I picked my first rhubarb, not the forced one but the very early one – must be the earliest yet.

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To finish the activities I planted quite a number of lettuce seedlings – iceberg type – in the greenhouses. They should be fine, it feels nice and warm inside. It’ll be nice to have a fresh crunchy lettuce again.

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Another day of work tomorrow, must finish the raspberries and then I will need lots of patience to wait with sowing some more seeds.