Saturday, 17 January 2015

Continuing to raise the allotment with trench Hugelkultur (10)

I have completed the trenching of the potato bed putting shredded woody material at the bottom of the trench and mixing it well with the subsoil.  I used some comfrey liquid to water over the top of the woody material to add nitrogen and some phosphorous.  Then I mixed the farmyard and chicken manure into the top soil.  I find it very hard to believe that I have sterilized the soil by digging as the Americans would have me believe.

So lots of good organic matter and fertiliser added to the soil on this bed that has been dug more than 600 mm. deep.

If that does not grow good potatoes then I don't know what will.

Last year I got a poor crop mainly because of potato blight, Phytophthora infestans, infecting the plants.  All I have left is half a sack when the year before I had six bags at this time of the year.

I have taken out the Viburnum x bodnatense
and replaced with autumn fruiting raspberries.
I transplanted the autumn fruiting raspberries Rubus idaeus and planted them along the path next to the hedge to extend the row.  They will be shaded by the hedge but I doubt if this will significantly reduce the crop. Needless to say, I planted them with mychorrhizal fungi.   I am hoping that the fungi will plug the raspberries into the hedge roots so that they can get nutrients from the hawthorn, Cretaegus monogyna.  As I have about 45 feet of raspberries along the hedge, I don't think that I will go without this fruit.  Most of these plants were already on the allotment when I took it over and have just been transplanted.  They produce prolific suckers which make ideal plants.  I know that autumn raspberries do not need support particularly, however I have put a post in and will run wires along the row so that they do not get untidy and I can tie them back if they fall over the path.
I pruned and tied in the loganberry 'Ly 654' and blackberry 'Adrienne'.  They are trained to an old climbing frame that I bought for the children years ago.  I pruned most of the canes long, taking off only about ten centimeters so that they would fit into the area they had to grow.  This will encourage them to produce fruit.  I thought that I would have to prune off a lot of canes because they looked very choked, however when the canes were taken off the supports and unraveled it was easy to reattach them in a more reasonable order giving each cane at least five or six inches of space to grow.

Black currant and loganberry tied into the climbing frame.  

I mulched all the Rubus - phoenicolasius, idaeus, fruticosus, and x loganobaccus with farmyard manure and forked over where I had been standing to do the job.

A lot of leaves had fallen from the brassica so I decided to rake these up and pick some Brussel sprouts at the same time.  Also got some parsnips and carrots from the clamps to take home.

The redcurrants on the new allotment are riddled with couch grass, bindweed and mare's tail so need to be moved to a clean area of soil.  They can become big bushes so  I am going to prune them to a fan.  I pruned them hard back to leave two branches growing more or less 45 degrees from the center trunk.

Redcurrants infested with weed rhizomes
Dug two bushes out and washed their roots to make sure they did not have any pernicious weed rhizomes lingering about between the twists and turns.  Dug  out holes next to the compost heaps and planted them with a dash of mychorrhiza fungi.  The branches were tied back to the compost pallets to keep them growing at the correct angles.

I also took out a gooseberry to plant at the back of the greenhouse.  There is an area here that is about a metre square that would be hard to include in the cropping scheme so it would be ideal for  a soft fruit bush.  Again, I washed the roots to remove rhizomes and planted with mychorrhizal fungi.

This means that I still have to move two redcurrants, at least two gooseberries and four blackcurrants.  The gooseberries will be moved to an area next to the little shed and the others will be used to separate the beds on this new area of the allotment when I have eventually cleared out all the weeds.

The salad burnet have been moved up the path opposite the sage.  They will have more light here. The sweet cicely has been moved to the hedge so that the potatoes have a clear run.  Potatoes always shade any plants growing near them and cause them to grow very poorly.

Before I start to triple dig the new allotment area, I will construct the storage area behind the shed. It will be like the one on the old allotment.

I have some big pieces of plywood covered in lino which I can't break up so I am going to use them as a base for the storage area. I will put carpet over the wood and then storage things on top of that.   Eventually I will want to put concrete slabs down but I don't have enough for the whole of this area.  I am going to use pallets to store the bean canes.  The canes will be stored upright resting the ends on the carpet base.

I have some thick iron poles which I can hammer into the ground to make the pallets very secure.  I will put the comfrey bins, dustbins, worm bin and blue butt in this area.  The blue butt will collect rainwater from the shed roof.  I still have to put the gutter on this big shed.  One of the dustbins will be used as an overflow water storage bin connected to the blue butt with plastic piping.  I want to raise up the two comfrey butts and the only things I have to do this are the pallets, although the worm bin will be raised on bricks.
Bean poles stored inside the pallets' planks.
This is the old allotment that I have given up now.

Canes stored between the planks in the pallets
on the old allotment.    
The seed potatoes have arrived and I have put them to chit in the greenhouse.  I have put this four tiered mini greenhouse inside the greenhouse.  I put the potatoes in trays and then into this mini greenhouse which is in the big greenhouse.  The potato trays were covered in bubble wrap.
Four tiered mini greenhouse.

Mini greenhouse at the back of the big
The greenhouses and cold frame are all full to overflowing.  I will have to take my chair out of the big greenhouse to fit things in now.

No comments:

Post a Comment