Sunday, 13 April 2014

Organising the allotment jobs.

Today, I wanted to sow my root vegetable seeds.  These include carrots, parsnips, beetroot, Hamburg parsley and salsify.  In order to do this, I had to complete the path alongside the allotment.  Putting the curbing in to retain the growing bed topsoil would mean I would disturb the seeds.

In order to complete the path, I needed to get some subsoil to level the path foundations and to get the subsoil, I had to dig out a trench across allotment 3A (which I have also taken over).

However, before starting any of the jobs, I filled all the bird feeders.

So, next I started with digging the trench out, sieving the top soil to remove perennial weed rhizomes and stones and placing it on the top soil I had already sieved.  This gave me access to the subsoil, which I put into the wonky, battered wheelbarrow and took down to the path making area.

Taking out the subsoil meant that something had to replace it or the soil level would be lower in this area.  I have been cutting back the bushes growing at home and had these, together with some lawn mowings, ready to put into the trench.  More subsoil was forked over and put on top of the cuttings and mowings, making sure there was no mare's tail or bindweed in it.

I am not going to dig over allotment 3A as well as I did allotment 2 because I will use it primarily as an overflow allotment.  Having said this, I will use some of it for my comfrey bed and another big area for the large rhubarb.  The big rhubarb is still at the old allotment and I will not be able to move it until next year. This will give me an opportunity to prepare the soil really well and add lots of horse manure to the top soil. Rhubarb seems to respond really well to copious amounts of well rotted horse manure.

I thought that I levelled the path quite well but I will have to do this again sometime.  As I have the curbing bedded in now, it means that I can raise the slabs and level their foundations without disturbing the seeds. However, that is jumping ahead of myself.

With the path foundations levelled, I began to walk the two foot square, concrete paving slabs down to the end of the path.  Not too difficult to start with but as the day drew on and I became more tired, it seemed to become much more arduous.

The slabs were laid up to next door allotment's pallet compost heap.  They had built this over the path so I cannot make the path up to the hedge.  It also meant that I had to do a dogleg in the path to get around the compost heap and link up to my hedge path.  After putting in the curbing to retain top soil, I put more slabs along the hedge path.  Although the slabs reached quite far down this path, I will still need quite a few more to complete this path and the one up to the greenhouse foundations.

Rather than going home because I was very tired, I decided to put the seeds in.  This was a much more enjoyable job.

I decided to put the carrot seed in first.  This would allow the carrots to develop in full sun all day - provided the sun was out - because this area of the allotment is south facing and not shaded by the hedge.  I put in four 16 feet long drills  for the seed and each drill was watered with comfrey liquid.  I did not add any other fertilizer because this area had both blood, fish and bone; and rock dust mixed into the top 300 mm of soil. The drills were taken out with the back of a right angled rake and carefully filled again after the seed had been sown thinly.

The seed was sown thinly so that I do not have to thin the carrots a great deal, later in the year.

When this task was completed, I had one row of 'Flyaway'; a row of 'St. Valery'; and two rows of 'Autumn King'

Wire cloche supports were then used, at two foot intervals, to stretch enviromesh over to form a barrier preventing carrot root fly getting to the carrot seedlings.

A 17 foot drill was taken out  for the parsnips 'Tender and True' and these seeds were sown after I had watered the drill.  The drill was carefully filled with top soil and the seed bed raked to remove foot marks.

The same procedure was completed for a 16 foot 'Boltardy' beetroot drill and that is when I called it a day and went home for some tea.

I like it when I have organised the jobs at the allotment so that everything is done in the correct order.

I still have to sow the Hamburg parsley and the salsify but they can wait until next week.  The next big job is to sow the greenhouse seeds.  To do this I need some more New Horizons organic compost.  Getting seed compost will be my next job.

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