Week 5

This was the first full visit after the Storms sweep through the UK and the plan was to continue clearly the site ready for the first vegetables going in sometime in March/April. I have spent the last 5 weeks, since I got the plot, clearing away bramble, ferns long grass and stubborn roots. However, I didn’t feel as though I had achieved anything, there seemed to be nothing to show apart from bare patches where brambles used to be.

So, I decided that the next course of action will be to get a couple of beds dug over. This is two of the pre-existing old beds that I decided at the outset to dig over this year to get me going while I prepared the rest of the plot for no-dig and produced enough compost on-site.

Wednesday 23 February

Having just acquired a proper digging fork rather the border fork that I brought from home; I was ready to get going. The first job was to define the edge of the bed. I had discovered that all of the narrow walkways between the beds had been laid with carpet! This however, had become very embedded with grass so using a spade I slowly worked my way around the bed finding the edge of the carpet and so defining where the bed was.

It was then just a case of turning the bed over with the fork. The soil is very good, and it did not take too long to have the whole bed looking tidy. There was the occasion stubborn grass root to dig up and a host of last year’s potatoes and carrots to remove before they went to seed. After a couple of hours bed number 2 (on the photo) was complete.

The bed still needs a little more weeding and raking over but it is certainly a step in the right direction. Next time I am up the plot should be Saturday, when I hope to turn over bed number 1 and maybe do a little more clearing. Weather depend, I may also light the bonfire or incinerator bin and burn off more rubbish.

Saturday 26 February

The intention today was to have been up at the allotment at about 9am and to have spent the best part of the day there. However, went out of the window when I developed a gastric bug overnight and by Saturday morning I was forced to remain in close proximity to one particular room in the house!!

However, by midday I was feeling a lot better, so decided to head to the allotment for a couple of hours.

Today’s target was old bed 1 which is slightly larger than old bed 2 and has some mature asparagus growing in the centre. The going was easy as I started from the fence end of the bed but by the time I reached the centre I started to uncover the large brown roots of the asparagus. At this point I started from the other end until I reached the same roots.

I should add that the asparagus had been completely enveloped in grass, so this phase was a hand fork job slowing removing the grass from around the asparagus. Eventually the whole bed had been dug over and partially weeded. It still needs further forking over and weeding but I want to see what remains of the asparagus before I go too far.

So that was it, the end of the first week where I had actually felt as though I had made some real progress. Two of the old beds brought back into production, just a little more forking and weeding and they will be ready for planting. My initial thoughts are potatoes in bed 2 and some runner beans, peas and maybe some cauliflower in bed 1.

So, what’s next? I want to focus on general tidying up starting from the back (shed end) of the site to the front. I need to get the bonfire going when the weather conditions are appropriate. Once the bonfire is cleared, I have a sheet of 6m x 4 heavy duty PVC to lay down on the patch of ground from bed 2 towards to the front of the plot. This is where the first of the raised beds will be placed.

Additionally, I need to finish the strip up the left had side of the plot and get the weed fabric laid down and the new composting area built. So much to do but all the time in the world to do it.

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