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.

22. FEBRUARY

Another day, another upcycling done. I was offered some blue rubber chippings, the kind used in playgrounds; of course I accepted. It took just the two of us, Frank and myself, filling a few large sacks and a wheelie bin, then taking it to the allotment and the result is…

I didn’t mix this with the wood chip, these two paths are small and to the side but important to cover all the same, it stops the ground getting muddy.

That was the other day. Today was the day of harvesting the last of the leeks and as it wasn’t too wet I decided to dig the patch over. Good job done, it was quite easy and by getting this done all my digging is finished. I hope the leeks will do as well this year, they were tasty and lasted the whole winter.

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FRONT GARDEN

This afternoon was earmarked for some serious digging in the front garden.

The job started on Sunday, between the showers. There was a large yucca in my front garden, I got it as a small cutting about 20 years ago. It was flowering well but last year it started showing signs that all was not well. In a way I didn’t mind digging it out, it was taking valuable space from my other large specimen there, a loquat. That is grown from a seed – some years ago we went to Istanbul and had loquat fruit in a restaurant. Of course I had to save the seeds and on return home I planted them in a pot and they germinated. I can’t imagine ever having the fruit here but it is a handsome tree.

The roots of the yucca went down for ever but they and the whole trunk were really fibrous, difficult to cut with a saw but much easier to hack with my favourite tool, the azada. Much easier to use than pick axe, much lighter. I have already mentioned it in another post, from January 2015. One of my very favourite Christmas presents.

Now the square of soil is cleared of all weeds, it is ready for new plants. I have decided on Hellebores, they should do well, it is slightly shaded by the hedge, and as they are not tall, they will not compete with the loquat.

 

FEBRUARY

I had a day off yesterday as it was my birthday, only 72, but today was just another day, nice and dry. A bit breezy but very good for digging.

It was rather easy to dig, the soil is lovely with plenty of worms. Another part of my plot is ready, there is only a small piece of land to do, perhaps tomorrow afternoon. There’s something like shopping to do that gets in the way……

RASPBERRIES…

….are ready. As I have just about finished my digging on the rest of the plot I can do jobs that I neglected in the past, like weeding the raspberry patch and spreading some horse muck there. Today was just the right day for it. I managed a half-day there yesterday, started the weeding and soon realised that there are many more weedsĀ  than I thought. A lot of bindweed roots, they go on for ever and break as soon as you touch them – every new bit could potentially grow into another plant. I had to call a halt to it yesterday, it was getting dark but all the same, the days are getting longer, I came home at 4.45 pm so I was happy.

The plan was to finish the weeding today and then spread the manure. The whole area swallowed 7 sacks of the stuff – I had it ready. That means that next week I will be driving to the place in Corley and hope they have a lot of it bagged ready for me. Amazing how many sacks I can fit in my little Polo.

GETTING THERE

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.