My self isolating continues on the allotment, doing jobs that I knew should be done but unfortunately I always had something more urgent to do. Today was the day to tackle the next task – moving a composter bin. This one has been in place since I acquired this plot, never been emptied so I had high hopes for some rich soil there. I wasn’t disappointed, about half was rich and crumbly soil, that got distributed around a few fruit trees as a mulch.
Mulch from composter bin
The rest of the stuff wasn’t sufficiently decayed so that got moved into the bin after I placed it in the new position. I have had three bins at the end of one plot, beside a water butt and a compost and there was a convenient space, just for one more bin. It is there now and the uncomposted matter is the base layer, a starter in the old bin in the new place.
new place for the bin
An empty place well filled.
In the old , now empty, part of the plot I erected some bean sticks. The thinking was – the soil there was quite rich, it wouldn’t do for either carrots or parsnips so beans will be happy there.
Tomorrow’s activities are therefore sorted – finish digging this part and make it ready for sowing – it’ll be fine for parsnips. Carrots will be on the part dug over yesterday and I have got one area to do later, that’ll do for beetroot.
Almost sorted out.
This time I was working in my back garden. I always spend so much time on the ‘farm’ and seem to neglect the front and back gardens and then I feel very guilty. Weeding (almost) done, pots topped up with the rich stuff from the compost in the corner – talking of that, I left it for about three years and what I got from there was nothing short of miraculous – rich, brown crumbly soil.
Bulbs are planted, one more dwarf apple tree is in a large pot and the greenhouse that is filling up alarmingly fast.
Time for some photos
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.
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 have been working on my plot about nine years – how does the time fly!!. I’m sure that I have mentioned my granddad many times here and I will do so again. As I was growing up I always went to his garden – we didn’t call it anything else because that’s exactly what it was. It was a large area on the outskirts of our town and he certainly was a dedicated gardener because he was working full-time and to get there he had to catch two buses.
When I started gardening on my plot I was still working and I clearly remember the struggle at times when I came home and had to get out again to do some gardening. For people who have a job I totally sympathise when they let the whole thing slip…..
Now I’m a lady of leisure I can spend all my free time on my ‘farm’ – and I do! It is not an easy task, the weeds grow ever so well and as soon as I think I’ve finished the weeding I can start all over again.
There are many theories regarding digging – no-dig gardening seems gaining popularity. I’m not sure about that – the piece of land I was working on today is so overgrown that it has to be done the hard way.
It is very satisfactory to see a nice patch of freshly dug ground.
This is also the time to patch things and maintain existing ones. We have decided to dismantle our office and change it back into a spare bedroom. I enjoyed reducing the desk and filing cabinet into pieces of wood. I knew it’ll be used on the allotment…
The smaller pieces were used to build a holding wall on the side of a path, that enabled me to repair that path and make it easier to walk.
The large pieces are holding in a fast growing compost heap – result of the digging of the neglected plot.