Monday, 3 March 2014

Planting up the allotment. (1)

I have planted all the normal garlic that I started in the greenhouse.  They were put in a line about 30 cm. away from the vines.  I also planted some Jerome shallots.  I have started the elephant garlic in the greenhouse and will take them down to the allotment to plant this week.

There is no sign of the seeds germinating in the greenhouse yet.  My season will be a very late this year.   'All the Year Round' cauliflowers and lettuce will be sown  under cover this week.

Supports for the blackberries have been put up and the blackberries planted but the support needs to be extended across the allotment and the loganberry planted at the other end of the row. Mycorrhizal fungi have been used in the planting holes for all the plants planted recently.

I have dug out my pond and lined it with carpets and black plastic. It is about 1 metre square and about 30 cm deep.   I am going to puddle it with clay dug out of the digging trenches.  I have the opportunity to use this clay and smooth it over the sides and bottom of the pond to make it waterproof.  Not sure about the thickness the clay needs to be but with the black plastic sheets underneath it, I am hoping that the clay will add to making the pond waterproof.  I am only going to use rainwater for the pond unless it gets very dry.  Rainwater from the green house gutters are going to be piped into the pond. Hopefully, this will keep the pond topped up.  I will have a soak away to make sure that the pond does not overflow.

I am going to keep this pond for frogs, newts and creepy crawlies which with any luck will eat any nasty pests that might stray into the allotment.  So no fish because they eat frog and newt tadpoles and lots of creepy crawlies.

I will finish trench twelve tomorrow.  I have dug out some of the subsoil under the allotment path and put it where the topsoil has been removed from the greenhouse foundations.  This means that there will be only subsoil under the slabs that will make up the foundation stones for the greenhouse and no top soil will be wasted.  I will continue to do this until I have covered the whole of the greenhouse area with subsoil. I will have to level this very carefully before I lay the greenhouse slabs.

 The trench under the allotment path was filled with stones sieved from the trench top soil. Subsoil from the trench went on top of the stones and concrete slabs on top of that.  I did not lay the concrete slabs very well and I will have to lay them again with a little more care but I wanted to cover the wet and sticky subsoil so that I could wheelbarrow the shredded woody material into the trench.

I have potted up the M9 rootstocks in readiness for grafting towards the end of this month.  Although, I might have to do some grafting sooner because the apple sions seem to be coming out of dormancy sooner than I thought they would.

I am taking the old 'compost' mound down and mixing it with the topsoil as I sieve it when digging the trenches.  I am also adding rock dust and blood, fish and bone.  The sieving is mixing the compost and fertilizers throughout the topsoil much more evenly than if I added it just to the surface.  This is one of the benefits of digging - you can mix the soil with several different amendments and know that they will be fairly well distributed throughout the topsoil profile.

I am adding old fungi riddled wood to the bottom of trench twelve together with the old brassica plants.  I have buried all the kale and brussel sprouts.  As the purple sprouting broccoli is harvested, I will put these at the bottom of the trench too.  Shredded brushwood is being put over the brassicas and used to make up the level of the trench.  I then dig another spit down into the subsoil and put this on top of the brushwood.  I am getting a significant amount of Hippocastanum arvensis rhizomes out of the subsoil so it is well worth going this far down.  Also, this is where I am getting my puddling clay from for the pond.   

I will be onto trench eleven tomorrow and will have to get a move on because this is my roots bed and I need to plant the parsnips soon.  It looks like this area of the allotment does not have as much Calystegia arvensis as other parts have had.  I hope so because getting this out slows down the digging immensely.

So if I don't go dig crazy and nothing gets in the way, I will be finishing off the digging fairly soon and then the interesting part of planting up the allotment can continue apace.

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