Jubilee Weekend

Because I work part time, the Jubilee holiday weekend was a 6 day affair for me. Unfortunately, the later part of the weekend was scheduled to be wet so a good excuse to stay in and watch the pageant on TV.

At the moment the only tasks to be done at the allotment are weeding, strimming and generally tidying up. There is still the clearing of the polytunnel area to be continued but that will be done once my right elbow and shoulder become less sore. However, some changes to the plan were considered in this area.

I managed to get the cast iron bath up on bricks to help with the drainage from the plug hole. This was no mean feat given that I was on my own. It was a case of having to lift it with both hands whilst trying to manoeuvre a brick under the bath with my foot. Had someone filmed my antics, it could have been used on Britain’s Got Talent or You’ve Been Framed!

I have been stock piling pallets at home over the past few weeks, so took the opportunity to get them moved to the allotment. We have no vehicular access, so it was a 500m wheelbarrow carry with each of the 4 pallets that needed moving. Add to that the walk into the hut to get the wheelbarrow and back to the car, I certainly clocked up a few km today.

The pallets will be used to form what will become our patio area for my reclaimed table and chairs. Other pallets are being used to rebuild the front fence, make a new gate and form some of the new raised beds going into the front of the plot.

The biggest issue with this allotment is horsetail (Marestail). It means that there is a constant need to weed the beds of this invasive weed as soon as it raises its head. Fortunately, I only have 3 beds (30 sq metres) at the moment. When I expand the plot to full capacity next year, I will need to be up here virtually every day, fortunately, I retire in October!

The Thursday and Friday of the public holiday were glorious sunny days and it allowed me time to get the grass cut and the thin out the parsnips. Whilst strimming the area at the front of the plot, I discovered more carpet! A previous tenant had laid 60 – 70 cm wide strips of carpet down to form the paths between the beds and the main thoroughfare of the plot.

Over the years, this carpet has gradually been overlain with grass and weeds to the point that you do not know it is there. I only discovered this latest strip when raking up the loose grass after strimming. It was the discovery of this carpet that got me thinking about what to do with this area of the plot. See the previous blog for the answer.

The last job I did at the allotment was to look at the exact location of the polytunnel. There are two issues that I needed to address. The first was that I would need a good walkway all around the polytunnel or access and maintenance. Secondly, I had a large rhubarb plant right where I wanted to place the polytunnel!

Now the polytunnel will not be in full capacity until next year, the initial plan is for winter lettuce and greens such as chard and kale. I cannot lift the rhubarb until it moves to its dormant state in late autumn/early winter.

Solution – position the polytunnel approximately 1.5 metres from the boundary fence at the back of the plot to allow for good access all around the polytunnel and also to allow the installation of a south facing cold frame along its length. It would also mean that the rhubarb will be inside the polytunnel for the remainder of the summer until it can be moved elsewhere.

The final gardening related chore of the holiday was carried out at home where all of the tomato plants were tied into new canes and positioned in their final locations. With the migration of most of the vegetable growing to the allotment, I am now slowly returning our 7m x 7m paved backyard in to a family area and container flower garden.

The only cultivation done at home will be some tomatoes, cucumbers, chillies, and peppers in the greenhouse in addition to what goes in the polytunnel.

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