Thursday, 9 May 2013

Digging the soil previously under the shed.

Now that I have moved the shed on the new allotment it has given me an area of top soil about 15 feet by 6 feet to grow on.  However the soil around the edges is full of bind weed and needed to be sieve double dug. My trusty bread tray sieve was recovered from the shed and put into use again.
It took me about three hours to clear the ground.  I left it a little uneven because I am going to run the Mantis Tiller over this area of the allotment.  Treading on the soil while moving the shed has consolidated it a little too much and the soil needs to be opened up again so that seeds can be sown and seedlings planted.

Some of the potatoes on the new allotment are poking their heads through the soil and will need hoeing up soon.  The potato bed is getting a little weedy and will need to be hoed to get rid of them.  I moved all the strawberries under the plum tree.  It is the only place I have for them at the moment.  I am going to make a large strawberry bed later.  I was given one globe artichoke and this is growing remarkably well.  I doubt very much if I will harvest any but it adds interest to the allotment.  

Although the brassica seedlings are still a little small to be planted out there are still things that need to be sown and planted.  I will be sowing some carrots, beetroot and Hamburg parsley next and then planting some dwarf French beans.  The Alderman pea supports need to be constructed from concrete reinforcing wire.  I will secure these with metal rods I have found on the allotment.  I still have some onion and leek seedlings to plant out.  They are fine in their trays at the moment but soon they will outgrow them.   

I am going to plant  the brassica seedlings where I have been digging today.  I have bought some nets from the old allotment to cover them against the pigeons.  

Although it was drizzling throughout the day, the ground was still very dry.  

Somehow, some of the pigeon muck that I put on the allotment next to the shed last year had migrated behind the shed.  The shed does not have a gutter so water falling from the roof must have moved it.  It meant that I could incorporate this into the soil that was under the shed.  This top soil seemed to be very thin and without much organic matter in it.  

I have three large pieces of guttering, each of which is big enough to span the side of the shed.  I will put one of them on the shed when I remember to bring the fixings from the old allotment.  I also need down pipe fittings.  

I could lime this area to prevent club root in the brassica plants but, as I am still assessing what the allotment is like, I don't want to add too many soil amendments yet.  

I have had a big pile of shredded material delivered to the allotment.  I am using this to cover the paths.  It does stop weeds seeds from germinating to some extent but the main reason for using it is to keep my shoes clean and dry.  

The second half of the allotment has been covered completely in carpet, black plastic and tarpaulins.  I had to weigh them down with the rotten wood from the "raised beds"  because the wind was so strong today. With the covering, it means that I can take my time in clearing this part of the allotment.  As it is so bad, I do not have to pay for it until next year so if I do get around to clearing even a small part of it and planting something, I will be making a "profit".  

The secretary of the allotment association has offered me the next allotment half as well.  I turned it down saying that I have enough to be going on with.  However, if I am going to give up the old allotment, it would be a very useful addition to the allotment. 

Giving up the old allotment is a very difficult thing to do.  Thirty one years of hard work enabling me to come third in Wolverhampton allotment competition means that I am very reluctant to say good bye to it.  I am not a competition kind of person but succeeding in this kind of competition validates what you are doing on the allotment and says that you are doing quite well.  I am going for big on the old allotment this year - trying to grow things as large as I can.  

Tomorrow I will  harvest the winter cauliflowers from the old allotment.  I thought that they would be quite small because the cold easterly wind and frost hammered them during March and April.  However, they have recovered very well and I will get some big curds from them.  

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