Friday, 18 November 2011

Allotment Garden Planning for 2012

Now we are at the time of the year that the new plan for the allotment is needed.  This is the only way that the number and variety of seed can be ordered from the garden catalogues.  I missed the deadline for the King's catalogue because that order needed to be in for 31st October and I could not get myself organised that early in autumn.
On allotment 25(b) I will have the roots, leaves, brassicas, beans and peas.  This is not the final version - as I always say because I already have some Asparagus officinalis seeds on the go and if they germinate I will have to find room for them.  I doubt if they will produce any spurs this year but they might next year.  Also I want to put in a line of Asparagus pea Tetragonolobus purpureus.  Where I don't know.  Possibly after an early crop of broad beans.

This is keeping to the rotation mainly to make sure that the brassicas are not on the same ground for at least 5 years.  It will make the probability of club root very unlikely.  I will be giving the brassicae bed a good dose of lime before any planting occurs.  I have cut back the hedge as far as I can so that there is less shading along the west (right hand) side of the allotment.  All the rows are running more or less north to south so that they are not shading each other.
Allotment 25(b) 2012 plan
Allotment 26(a) will have the sweet peas and the onion bed.  I am going to take some of the onion bed up with the curbits and sweet corn.
Allotment 26(a) plan 2012
Where the sweet peas are going there are still pumpkins  (in November!), leeks and celeriac growing. On the onion bed there are broad beans, American land cress, radish (almost gone now), green manures and the garlic.  I will probably plant some more garlic and shallots in the greenhouse.  One of the lines of sweet peas will probably be runner beans again because I cannot fit them in anywhere else.
The potatoes and oca will go on the bottom plot.
Allotment 26(b) 2012 plan.
I have still got to find somewhere for the herbs but these will probably be put into pots and left on the paths.
The potato bed is being dug over and I am trying to triple dig it.  The formal name of this type of digging is bastard digging because it is a b*****d to do.  As there are so many stones in it and this makes it hard to dig even at the best of times, I have decided to sieve it as well.  I have a large, old, plastic, bread basket with one inch holes in it.  It is ideal for removing the boulders that are in this soil.

I am also using it to mix in the horse muck and turf soil.  I sieved the turf putting the grass at the bottom of the trench and mixing the top soil with the original top soil.  It is certainly making a very friable top soil.  Unfortunately, it is also making my back ache.  Hey, what can you do.  I will have a bit of a respite when I go for my RHS course tomorrow morning. I am only doing where the strawberries were because I still have quite a few roots left in the root bed.  I am thinking of clamping the carrots, at least, and putting the beetroot into sand boxes so that I can start to dig this area too.
I have raised this area quite a bit again but I think that it will not be too high when I have raked it all over.  Several people have made comments about me building up the soil on the allotment and it is getting a little wearing.  Nobody bats an eyelid at raised beds if they are a metre square or similar.  I just do it on a slightly larger scale.   
If I have to wait for the beetroot and carrots to come out, I will go up to the top bed and triple dig and sieve where the new carrots are going to go.  The carrots grew really well this year and I want to see if I can get them even bigger in 2012.  If the soil is really friable; I add some of the pigeon manure now; use mychorrhizal fungi;  use some inoculated charcoal and carefully thin then I might get some reasonable carrots.  You might say that putting on pigeon manure will cause the carrots to fork.  This might be so but I am gambling that the pigeon manure would have rotted down sufficiently for it not to affect the carrots aversely by the time I plant the carrots in the spring.  I will be covering the carrots again with enviromesh to protect them from carrot root fly Psila rosea.  I cover them completely using plastic hoops to keep the mesh from lying on the plants.  

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