Monday, 11 March 2013

Cold weather has returned

I was just about to start sowing celeriac, and celery but the  weather has  turned very cold again.  I think that the seed sowing will have to wait until this cold snap is over. I need to sow some lettuce, early peas,  cabbage, and  cauliflower too but they need the weather to be a little more clement to be successful.

However, this gives me time to continue with the  sieve digging that  I  am doing on the new allotment.  There  is not a lot more  to do  but  it is quite  unpleasant  with a cold north  easterly wind blowing.  As the  allotment boundary  slopes at  the bottom I  will finish  one side before the other. The  ground has not been dug in this area before by the looks  of things  but I think that I will double dig closer to the hedge.  The hedge will not be damaged and whether I use this area or not it will remove  the Calystegia sepium  which will be an  irritation if it is not removed.

People ask me  how  my allotment looks so good  in the summer.  The  reason it  does so well is down to the preparation that takes place during the winter.  Double and  triple digging mixing in lots of organic matter will enable  the plants  to develop good deep root systems that  will sustain  them during the summer.

While I have been digging at the new allotment,  I have seen very few people working on their allotments.  Most will fork over the soil in the  spring and sow and plant in soil that is not well mixed and full of weed seeds.  To get a worthwhile harvest from an allotment, you have to  put the  work in and turn the soil over.

I will not neglect the old allotment but with the  cold weather there is little to do.  The  next jobs will be to  plant out the onion seedlings and the  seed potatoes.  Any left over will be put onto the  new allotment.

I have not worked out the beds  and  the  rotation  system on the new allotment yet but that will be done  after I have  dug the whole area and can see how much room  I  have.  After planting out  the rest of the soft fruit,  I  don't think that there will  be that much room.

I will probably have room enough  for a row of runner beans and these will probably be  put along the east side  of the  allotment so that they do not shade the other plants. I have some tall peas which  I  will plant alongside  the runner  beans.  I have  some old concrete reinforcing mesh that will be ideal for growing them  up.  It is about 5 ft. in  height and 10 ft long.  I will use  some  fence posts to  support it tied in with garden wire. I don't like making permanent structures on the  allotment because I may  need  to change the design of the garden.  Lots of people like to  make permanent supports for their  runner beans but  I like to rotate them.  Even though they can be  planted in the  same ground successfully for several years, they can be useful  in  adding nitrogen to  the soil because they form a symbiosis with  nitrogen fixing bacteria.

There was quite  a lot of chicken wire on  the allotment which seemed associated with  various compost heaps. It was covered in Calystegia sepium and I don't think that the previous tenants of the allotment were prepared to take the  time to untangle it so they could take it  away.  I will  use  this  to support the  garden peas.

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