Monday, 5 January 2015

Continuing to raise the allotment with trench Hugelkultur (9)

Sowed the cherry and Shirley tomatoes today in three inch pots.  Also sowed the main crop onions. Left them on the windowsill to germinate.

This meant that I arrived at the allotment late morning.  The soil from the digging trench was covering the path and I had to walk over the fruit bed to get to the greenhouse.  This was irritating me so the first job was to put the soil back in the trench.  This top soil is particularly friable and deep.  I can't remember, but I think some of the soil I put here came from the old compost heap.
Old compost heap February 2014.This does not exist any more.  The compost
was incorporated into the top soil around this area.   

Trench filled.
As the temperature in the greenhouses was getting towards 20 degrees celsius, I opened the doors and windows.  The cold frame was opened too.

The celery plants were taken up and the best was cut for the kitchen.  The rest I put to one side to bury in the next trench.

I dug out potato bed trench three and forked over the bottom.  I put the rest of the shreddings in the trench and forked over again mixing them with the subsoil.  I will have to go all the way down to the other car park to get shreddings for the next trench.  It will take another two trenches to cover the whole of this potato bed so I will probably need about eight more barrow loads of woody shreddings.

All these shreddings have been buried  in
the subsoil now
I have said to the bloke that brings me the shreddings, if he sees that the pile has gone he can bring me another pile. I'm hoping that he will bring some soon so that I don't have to go such a distance to get them.  I still have about half the farmyard manure pile left.  This will do me for this potato bed but I will not have enough to dig into the other potato bed.  The other bed will be on the new allotment and has not been cultivated for about two years.  As it has been left fallow, nutrients will have been replenished and fertility raised a little so I am hoping that this will be sufficient for the potatoes.

At the moment this new potato bed is full of mare's tail and bindweed so I am not looking forward to digging it.  I do not need to sieve the soil I am digging now but I will have to sieve the new allotment soil just to remove the weed rhizomes.

I put the old celery plants in the trench and watered neat comfrey liquid over the shreddings at the bottom.

Chicken manure was put onto the top soil and some of the top soil was raked into the trench. This was levelled and farmyard manure added, spread and forked in.  I will pull the rest of the topsoil back into the trench tomorrow.  I didn't trench near the little leaning apple tree because the roots were beginning to be exposed.  The base of the tree was just forked over.  I am hoping that this exposed any pests that were lurking around the bottom of the tree.  The robin was certainly very interested and spent a long time investigating but I did not notice whether it found anything.

The robin is a particularly handsome one with very bright colours.

I have moved the Sarcococca hookeriana plants from the base of the apple tree and will eventually put them under the hedge to grow in the shade. Although they do like shade, I think that the potatoes will shade them a little too much particularly as they are still very small cuttings.

I closed up the greenhouses round about three o'clock  because the sun was going down and it was getting cold.

I will be sowing the sweet peas when I go down to the allotment next regardless of the weather.  If I don't have room for them in the greenhouse, which is filling up quickly, I will move the cabbage, lettuce and onion seedlings into the cold frame.  Spent some time scraping the paths with the shovel to get the mud off but was a little futile because I trod more soil onto the paths afterwards.

Still, I felt happier and the paths looked much better for it.

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