March 2006

What have I planted this month? Well, nothing extra until the end of March. I'd like to say this was because I was taking the scientific approach & allowing for the fact that Spring seems to be about 2 weeks late this year. But no, I'd got so into building the infrastructure (wow!) of my allotment I forgot what it was actually there for. So right at the end of the month I planted out potatoes, onions & carrot seeds, & sowed tomatoes & chillies at home.

I'd read that interplanting onions & carrots is a good way of fighting off carrot flies, apparently the onions mask the smell of the carrots. So I did 2 rows of onions, 2 rows of carrots.

Filled a bed with early seed potatoes, but had only used just over half the bag & I've still got another bag of laters to go, so may have overdone the spuds. I think this caused me to plant them too densely, although you're supposed to be able to do this in raised beds. Another experiment awaiting the outcome!

What about my garlic? Well, magically their heads started to appear at the beginning of the month & now they're going great guns, see evidence to the right (double click to enlarge). It took exactly a month from planting to appearance. Looks like I've got my first successful crop. Luckily it seems rabbits don't like garlic, otherwise I'd have nothing. Must put the rest of the fence up early April before the carrots start to appear.

Most of the month was taken up finishing shoring the raised beds where they're too high for the current level of paths in between. I've also spent a lot of time breaking up the soil turned over in previous months. This has worked really well for the earlier beds, but I'm a bit worried about the later ones. The frost hasn't had much chance with these, & drying winds has meant the lumps of earth are like concrete. Hope for a bit more frost.

Rodney couldn't deliver on the Victor Mature (mature manure), couldn't get the tractor to it since it's in a hollow & still slippy. Helped me out by letting me have his much younger brother straight out of yard, some of which looked like he'd gathered it before it hit the ground! Well mixed up with hay so should be good for putting on beds this Winter, but too fresh at the moment.

When delivering, the trailer couldn't be maneuvered to dump in the space prepared. I'd realised the compost bin was too far in from the path & had spent a couple of hours moving it over by about 3 feet (wish I'd get these things right in the first place... what would I be like without the grand plan!) & so the lot went on the path outside my patch. Another two hours & lots of grunting & puffing later the whole 3 tons was where it should be. 'No flies on him' was not the most suitable phrase at the time.

Used some of the horse manure to prepare the beds for potatoes & pumpkins. Even added another diamond shaped bed, but I think I've run out of time for any more.

The shed has grown a bit, but only because I've managed to scrounge more wood from the skips on the local industrial estate. Even managed to recover 6 double glazed windows ready for cold frames, but as with much else I should have started last Autumn.

By the end of the month, with the longer days & sunnier skies the allotment site is getting much busier. Lots of people I haven't seen before, for many of whom this is their first season as well. It's really interesting to see all the different approaches. Very exciting.

And most exciting of all, right at the end of the month at about 1:30pm Fri 31-Mar Isabel Louise was born at 6lb 13oz, daughter to Becky & Barry, sister to Sammy. I've now got 4 beautiful grandchildren. One of my earliest memories is going with my grandad to his allotment in Bolton & the smell of his tomato plants. Hopefully my grandchildren will be enjoying the allotment with me over the coming years.

Thanks for reading my blog site. John

2 hours to move Victor Mature's younger brother ...

... having spent another 2 hours moving the
compost bin.

Bed with onions & carrots at the top. Note how
fine the soil is now.

Densely planted bed of early potatoes

The 'infrastructure', with pumpkin bed in the
foreground, new bed in the background.

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