It is all right getting over to the allotment early but it means that you have to dig for even longer. I arrived at the allotment round about 8:45 and inspected the digging done yesterday.
I am still trench triple digging adding brushwood to the lowest layer. However, I have run out of brushwood to bury. I have taken the hedge back as far as is sensible and even worked back behind the old compost heap. I have also used most of the old compost and all of the pigeon manure.
I still have a little pruning to do in the garden, however after this there will be nothing to bury. I am not too bothered now because it is getting towards the planting season and I want to finish before the end of February. So, I have decided to carry on double trench digging. I will still sieve; primarily to get stones for the path and shed foundations but I will not worry about burying. If prunings come to hand then it will be easy to revert to the triple digging.
One of the beds was quite heavily manured before I took on the allotment and this is being mixed into the top soil.
Having so much Calystegia sepium and Equisetum arvensis is really slowing me down but the sieving using the bread tray is very effective in removing the rhizomes. They seem to be growing through an old pile of leaves that has virtually rotted away. I do not want to loose any of this fibrous leaf mould so I am carefully extracting rhizomes wherever I find them.
I cannot stop using the sieve because there are so many rhizomes growing right into the beds and you cannot be sure where they are. I will just keep going regardless.
I had walked over to the new allotment and gotten myself tired so I was not inclined to bring home the bindweed and mare's tail rhizomes which I was going to photograph for this blog. However I will at some time.
It is all right me talking about these rhizomes but, if you don't know what they look like, it will be difficult to make sure you get them out. They are very pernicious and spread everywhere.
I have taken the tarpaulins off the soil and put them into the lean too next to the shed and I am slowly putting all the carpets onto the next door allotment. I am hoping that this will keep the weeds from growing and spreading to my allotment.
The next door allotment does not seem to have been done for about three years at least. I think that someone is paying rent for it but I will dig it over if they do not do anything with it this year.
I pricked out all the tomatoes, sweet corn, pumpkins, squashes, and beans into Gro Char charcoal compost. They are still in the hot house and will stay there until they get a little bigger. This is the first time that I have sown some of these tender vegetables this early in the year but I need them to at least be in flower for the show garden in June. Whether I will be successful remains to be seen, however I am quite enjoying having a go. It is not whether you can get these seeds to germinate; it is whether you can keep them alive during the cold weather. I really need some propagation lights to ensure that they are flowering around the middle of June. I am going to give them a good dose of comfrey liquid twice a week to see if that will bring them on.
I pricked out the cauliflower in the cold house and remarkably they seem to have survived the cold weather. I am hoping to grow these quite large. My big cabbages still need to be pricked out into three inch pots. I will do that tomorrow. Also, I have some Swift early potatoes that I was going to put into charcoal compost for the show garden and I really should plant them now and keep them in the heated green house. Swift will grow very quickly and possibly be in flower for the middle of June. I will also plant some later to make sure that they do not come too soon.
The rest of the onions need to be sown now and I will make a second sowing of leeks. If I can keep the Phytomyza gymnostoma off them I might get some decent sized ones this year. I am going to cover them all with a large enviromesh supported by water pipes. It looks a bit unsightly but it is effective.
I really need to get up to the old allotment and plant the broad beans, shallots and garlic. I have some plastic cloches so these will be used to give them a little more protection.
Now that the weather has got a lot warmer, I will plant the rest of the sweet peas. I might even have a go at sowing them in some of the Gro Char charcoal compost. The sweet peas that I planted in December have started to germinate. The cold weather did not do them any harm.
So lots to do and the season has not really begun yet.