Thursday, 16 January 2014

Starting to clear and triple dig an allotment (14)

I have completed the trench 10 across the allotment, dug out the path and put the top soil on the growing area.  It took a while to do this because the carpets and tarpaulins had not covered this area and there were a lot of couch grass and nettle plants that needed to be taken out.

I dug out soil from the greenhouse path  and put it on the new potato bed where the surface of the soil is a little low. I hate leaving very good topsoil under paths so try to dig topsoil out and fill the path trench with subsoil and stones.

This left me with a big hole where the greenhouse path will go.  I used subsoil from  the allotment path to put into the greenhouse path hole.  It did not completely fill the hole so I will be using stones to make it up to surface level.  This left me a hole two spits deep at the end of trench 10.

I had removed a very large, heavy stone from the subsoil of trench 9 and used it with stones sieved from the rest of the trench  to make this part of the trench up to surface level capping it off with subsoil. The concrete two foot square slabs will go over the subsoil to make the path.    I now have another two spit hole in the trench which I  filled with brushwood and shredded willow and covered it with the subsoil.  I will work backwards covering shredded material with subsoil in the same way until I reach the other end of the trench.
There is still a lot of mare's tail in the subsoil and it is particularly difficult to get it out when the subsoil is as wet as it is.
Before putting the topsoil back into the trench I am going to spread a layer of horse manure over the subsoil.
Then it is on to  trench 11.

In order to have enough stone and subsoil for the greenhouse path, I am going to use the stone from the old allotment path.  I made this path last year and there are two spits of stone underneath it.  However, I will need to fill the hole I make extracting these stones with some good top soil.  I am hoping that the mound of soil at the end of the allotment will be sufficient.

So its a bit of a merrygoround at the moment but it is working.  I am getting extra top soil on the growing beds from the paths, the paths are being made of  stones and subsoil topped off with concrete slabs, I am reducing the level of the mound at the bottom of the allotment and digging trenches out to remove all the mare's tail and bindweed rhizomes.

I started this project on the 3rd of September 2013 which means that I have taken four and a half months to dig over about 3/4 of the allotment.  Without the bind weed and mare's tail it probably would have taken me about a week - maybe two.

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