Thursday, 28 November 2013

Starting to clear and triple dig an allotment (8)

I have just finished trench seven and am about to start trench eight.  It has taken a while to riddle out all the perennial weed rhizomes and I have also been gardening elsewhere.  I have moved the Rubus idaeus "Glen Prosen"  to the new allotment and tied them up onto wires stretched between tree posts.  When all the raspberries have been moved, I should have raspberries from July to October.  "Glen Prosen" is a mid summer cultivar, which I quite like.  The summer raspberry varieties need to be in the sun for as much time as possible and they were shaded for most of the day where I had them on the old allotment.

I remembered to plant the canes with a little mychorrhizal fungi and mulched them with a little horse manure. I really need to put more manure or compost on them but I will do this later in the year.  There are some raspberries on the new allotment which are probably "Autumn Bliss" which fruited in the autumn.  They are poor specimens so I might just take them out and put them at the bottom of the digging trench.

I have started to put curbing along the trackway using 1 foot square, concrete paving slabs.
I have put one foot square paving slabs along the end  of
the allotment.  
They are quite useful because I can use them to help me with spacing between veg. rows.  I have planted Laurus nobilis every two feet and Buxus sempervirens in between to make a hedge alongside the slabs.   This is the north side of the allotment so I am using the hedge and the Sorbus vilmorinii to shelter the rest of the allotment from winds from the north.  The bay may not like this very much but it has survived on the old allotment in a very exposed position.  The sorbus is being planted every ten foot in the hedge.

As I have run out of Buxus sempervirens rooted cuttings, I am using the Pyracantha rogersiana seedlings to finish off the whole of the run across the allotment.

I will need 40 two foot slabs to complete the path down the east side of the allotment.  Two down 38 to go. I will put curbing along the path as well to contain the soil.  The path will then go along the hedge to the shed. That will need 24 slabs and a path up to where the greenhouse is going - right in the middle of the allotment - will need 30 slabs.

The Fraxima ananasia "Cambridge" and "Marshmallow" plants were containerised at the old allotment using comfrey leaves at the bottom and good sieved top soil at the top of the containers.  I have moved these potted plants to the new allotment where they will be used to make a large strawberry bed next to the compost heaps.

I will move the compost heaps to enable me to use a little more of the ground that they are on.  If I move them round 90 degrees then the lorries and trailers will be able to back into the bays and tip out the manure where it needs to be stored.

The top fruit trees are not planted in the right places for the new allotment plan so I will be moving them during the winter.  I want to make sure that they are dormant before I start to do this.  They have just lost their leaves so I will leave them for another couple of weeks.  The Malus domesticus "Ribston Pippin" and "Egremont russet" will be put alongside the east path and the  Pyrus communis "Doyenne du Comice" will go by the west path.

I am going to move the two pears and apple trees from the old allotment and plant them by the east path.  I don't know the cultivar names of these at the moment but I will try to identify them when they fruit.  The pears are probably "Conference" and I think that the apple is "Discovery"

Although I have run out of brushwood and shreddings to put at the bottom of my trenches, I will continue to dig and scrounge  more from where ever I can.  There is quite a pile of horse manure at the old allotment and I can bag this up and bring it to the new to put under the topsoil.  The manure will have broken down well by next spring.

I have bought some volcanic rock dust, as an experiment, to add to the new allotment soil.  As the new allotment soil has a lot of clay in it, I thought that I would add some horticultural grit to open it up a little. However, why not use some rock dust instead?  I am not sure how well it will aerate the soil being dust rather than gravel but if it will introduce some nutrients as well as improving drainage, I will be pleased.  I think that the jury is out about whether rock dust is of any use in the garden.  I like to experiment and, as I have never used rock dust before, see whether it is useful or not for myself.

I will add the rock dust to the soil as I sieve it.  I will also apply it to the surface where I have already dug.

So on to trench number eight and the search for material to bury at the bottom of it.


  1. Triple dig? Astounding! I can barely bring myself to dig once so I'm always amazed by the determination and commitment by those of you who tend your plots so well. I hope all that hard work pays off for you.
    Slabbing is much more up my street :)

  2. Well we shall see if the triple digging as any effect on the harvest. Regardless, digging big holes means that you can bury lots of rubbish. :-)