January 2006

No longer homeless in my quest to conquer the dug world (well, my bit of it). After pondering for a couple of weeks I went for Plot 61, sadly neglected!

With Chris in between jobs I fixed up for him to start putting in frames for the raised beds as well as a fence.

Finally, out shopping yesterday got overcome by a desire to get my seeds etc. Bought garlic cloves, they'll be the first things to be planted!

What attracted me to Plot 61? It's a bit back from the road, so less chance of vandalism (not that there's much on Hill Rise allotments). The neighbours I've met are really nice & chatty. It's not too far away from the water trough. Finally, there was a nice clump of trees in the corner from which I envisaged lots of birds nesting & coming to feed from my hand.

That aim was well & truly quashed when the digger ripped the lot out during my first day of work. But it only took me an hour or so to find consolation in the thought that I'd have to plant a couple of fruit trees as replacements. Every cloud.....

Here's what the plot looked like before spade applied (click to enlarge). Hmmmm... yes, what on earth did attract me to it?

Read up that old carpets would be a great idea to surpress the weeds & grass while I work my way down the plot. Carpet Right not interested, don't take old carpets away, so I called a local carpet fitter who was only to glad for me to take some away from his lock up garage. Spent 2 hours getting the carpets to the allotment (in the process fighting off District Council employees on 2 separate occasions who thought the carpets had been fly tipped as they sat by the road with me wheezing back & forth carrying them in stages). Laid them out on the plot... it was like a postage stamp on a football pitch! I need all the carpets in Buckingham Palace to make any difference. Nevertheless the carpets will come in handy for the paths.

Need manure! Where to get it from? Called a nice man at some horse riding stables. He pays for someone to take the stuff away when necessary, so only too happy for me to relieve him for free. Said he'd even clear away the new so I could get at the well rotted manure. Perfect! Got that to look forward to in a week or so. No trailer so I'm going to fill bins & bags & see how that goes. Will I get enough in less than 50 trips?

So here's a photo of how the plot was looking yesterday. Chris has been beavering away getting the raised bed frames in & level & I've dug up the earth in 4 of them. Half the fence up & Chris even knocked up a gate in less time than it would have taken me to sneeze. You can see the design beginning to take shape, with the first diamond bed in the middle. The free space to the right of the gate is for compost bins & manure heap.

And what about my purchases? Well, popped into Wilkinsons because my wife had spotted 6 foot fruit trees for sale for about £5. Sure enough they were there, but all apple other than one Morrello cherry tree ... my book said a cherry tree really good to plant because of the expense & poor quality of cherries in the supermarket. I thought I'd pick it up as the last thing to buy because of bulk, but it had gone when I returned. They're getting some more in so I'll be back. I'm after a cherry & a plum tree.

Wilkinsons were doing a buy one get one free on their seeds, so I got all the ones I needed. Also got potatoes, garlic, onions, artichoke & a patio fig tree. Really good value. Also got a wheel barrow for £14.99 from West End Stores, the local DIY store.

I'm really encouraged by the progress made in just over a couple of weeks. Booked lots of time off in March for planting. Now where did I put those spuds.....


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