A planting plan with a twist of photoshop…
Here’s my latest attempt to plan out the first phase of the allotment…
I’ve been motivated into this because my Mum has very generously bought us a Constant Garden, from Rocket Gardens, which means lots of deliveries of little plants every month or so. The list on the plan is just what is included in the second delivery! The first delivery has just arrived and is a selection of potatoes, but after that, it all really kicks off!
I may have to dig over the last section to get it all in but have nearly finished setting out raised beds and the main planting area is pretty much ready also – we’ll at least have a load of spuds to keep us going. : )
After spending months transporting manure to the plot, planning what we’ll be growing and digging 2/3 of the area, we’ve finally started setting out and planting for this season. My target of finishing the digging by Christmas wasn’t exactly met but 2/3 isn’t bad and this will give us enough space to grow a lot of vegetables.
The day before this session at the plot, we went over to Dundry Nursery and bought seeds, potatoes and onions to put in over the next few weeks. It’s a really nice nursery and very near to the little airport, with propeller planes flying over every few minutes! The boys loved that + the large blue and green parrot which they have there.
I’d made a list of the most disease-resistant potato varieties from their website (very useful btw), but two of the second earlies had already sold out (Fabula and Milva) but we did get the Victoria main crop variety. We also picked up Maris Peer (2nd early) and Nadine (2nd early), which we’re chitting on various window sills, ready for planting in a few weeks.
We’ve also been reading up on the whole potato process but every author seems to have a different version of the timings. Monty Don seemed to have the best approach, which is just adapt the planting to the weather. He does set out some fairly precise planting tips, which also seem sensible.
Anyway, that was a good trip out in the new car and that late afternoon I went up to the plot and was digging for a straight hour until it got dark. I got some nice sunset, bird and moon images and it was a brilliant time in the peace and quiet.
The next sunny and warm day (and it’s late February!!) was spent for a couple of hours at the plot, digging, trans-planting raspberry plants, setting out spaces, aligning raised beds, shifting logs, scattering pot ash. The boys were amazing and very patient and helpful. Jamie was raking the ground which now looks brilliant and Jac was digging around and collecting water!
Both boys were also painting the shed and Claire managed to finally get our plot number painted on there, which is one of the requirements of the allotment (having the plot number displayed).
Defining the areas has really helped us get an idea of what we have to do and it makes it all more doable. There is now only a couple of hours digging left to complete the main potato/onion/leek growing area and enough space to the side to experiment with the three sisters approach, where beans are grown up corn, with pumpkins grown between. Lots of wild and other flowers will be going in to help pollination and more edging and plot defining to be done!
Can’t wait to get up there again. Just hope my back stays strong! : )
I’ve been vaguely gathering information on anything to do with the allotment and always quiz people who are in the know when I meet them. I’m determined to make the most of our first full growing season and get as much out as possible.
Potatoes are the main crop and there’s plenty of time to get more ideas on varieties but Claire’s Dad has recommended Nadine as a good and productive variety. He grew them this year and from 13 KG of seed potatoes, he got about 75 KG out, which is about 5.75 times increase. This was about what we’ve got so far from our growing in the garden.
In terms of planting, it’s rows of roughly 60cms between each row, with 30cms between each plant in the row.
What we’ve found so far during the digging work is the areas which have been previously cultivated are much softer and easier to dig over. In particular, where potatoes have been used, the soil is much softer and less lumpy, going down to a deeper level like this. we’ve found lots of little potatoes i these areas as proof. Once the potatoes have been grown in the whle plot, this should help improve the consistency of the soil, also helping to get the manure spread into the soil.
Twice at the allotment in the space of 2 days!
I went over there for an hour yesterday and managed to water the various plants that we’d already planted (which miraculously hadn’t died), laid out the last two raised beds ready for digging over, pulled back the black sheet from the side path edge and started cutting the edge of the path along the top. I also gave the large raised bed a good digging over and got all the weeds out.
Today we all went over there as the day was dragging slightly and it was really good. The boys were helping with some digging and were being very grown up and getting water from the trough to water in the new plants.
We put in rainbow chard, peas, mustard greens and courgette. Claire also put in some canes and branches for the peas to grow up. I started to dig over the end raised bed but the ground was so hard. It’s going to need some serious digging or rotavating in the autumn!
Anyway, it’s starting to look like we’re making some progress and 4 of the beds are now planted!
Spent about 45 minutes up at the allotment and managed to get a fair bit done in the time.
The freight boxes which we’d driven up and dumped there the week before were cut up into single panel height raised beds and two of the square ones were placed onto the site and dug over. It’s starting to look how I think we’re intending it to look and the final layout will not just look good buit should function well.
There are now 6 raised beds in place, 3 of which have been planted up. There are also two tyres there which define the edge by the shed. There will probably be enough width for another two raised beds in front of the shed. If we’re doing a total of 2 or 3 rows, this could be another 6 beds. This could mean 17 raised beds in all. This could be 10 beds for all the individual families members with 7 left over.
I also took down measurements for the plot, including the various features, such as compost and shed. This will be put into SketchUp, which is a great 3D package, which will give us an easily altered and updated plan, which we can use for planting ideas and crop rotations. I find it’s easy doing this than drawing it out and it can then be sent to everyone and altered.