February 2006

Started the month off by planting my first crop... garlic. Thought I needed to get it in quickly since I'd read garlic needed some frost to encourage the bulb to split into cloves as it grew. Also wanted at least one bed where, every time I arrived for another session, I could look to see if anything had poked it's head out of the ground. At the end of the month nothing has appeared yet, & I was a bit worried when planting that I hadn't broken the soil up enough... time will tell!

Aiming to get some onions in soon. Read it's a good idea to intersperse with carrots to fool the carrot fly, so will leave some spaces.

I've spent most of the time this month digging the raised beds, trying to ensure I get the maximum benefit from any remaining frosts to break up the earth. The soil on my site is clay & somewhat compacted with plenty of briar roots which means digging is slow but sure. This picture (click to enlarge) shows some of the rubbish that's coming out of each bed... briar roots, plastic and worst of all soggy carpet. That's a real killer when it's hidden under an inch of soil!

The conditions to pray for once dug seem to be a frost followed by dry & windy weather. Once the soil is dried out it seems to break up much more easily.

Have dug half of the penultimate bed, so not much further to go (although this doesn't use up all the plot yet). I've given two of the biggest beds to Barry & Beth. Looking forward to them in competition with each other. Also put up my first compost bin using three pallets. Lots of rabbit litter, kitchen greenery & garden cuttings, topped with a carpet to retain any heat, of which there isn't much in evidence at the moment.

On the other hand, plenty of heat about when I spent a tiring day hauling horse manure up to the plot. Spent two sessions filling large old compost bags, loading into the car, driving as near as I could get to the allotment & then hauling up there using my wheelbarrow. Plenty of steam coming off the stuff... when it was in the car the windows were steaming up & there was certainly no need to put the heating on! Then saw a new notice on the allotment notice board... call Rodney to get well rotted manure delivered to your plot for £16! Consoled myself with the fact that I used to pay good money at the gym to get the kind of exercise I was now getting for free.

Scavenged lots of wood from skips & incinerators in preparation for building my shed. Here's the flat pack version. I've always wanted a verandah of the type you see cowboys sitting out in at the end of the day in westerns. It's going to be the nearest I ever get. Marvelous how starting an allotment turns you into the best recycler in the world.

Still not got my fruit trees, but read not a good idea to plant when frost still about. Chris finished his work on the raised beds, he's got more pressing work to do on his own & others' houses so got a little bit to do to complete the fencing. Started using ash from where the groundsmen have burned rubbish to build up the paths... bit dangerous because pretty well rutted, presumably from past potato beds.

So lots of effort this month with not as much visible effort as the last post. Lost several pounds in the process though!


Progress from back of plot

Progress from front

Space reserved for compost bins & manure

The garlic bed, still snoozing!

1 comment:

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