We’ve been slowly waking up to the fact that now is the time to kick start our allotment ambitions. If we had been making great progress with our growing this past year, we would now be pulling up all the plants and turning over the compost etc.
As it is, we’ve just been over to the allotment and done an hour of digging, but there wasn’t much to pull up out of the raised beds. Claire and I had a very rare opportunity to spend a small amount of time out of the house together without the boys, so we legged it over to the allotment.
We took up all the raised beds, got the last tomatoes and rainbow chard out, pulled out the canes, stacked the raised beds behind the shed, dug over and cleared a section of the corner of the plot measuring 2 x 2.5 metres (5 m2).
Not a bad start and given how much we got done in only 1 hour, we’re now thinking we can do the whole plot with forks and spades, rather than using a friend’s rotavator, which obviously uses petrol. The whole plot is roughly 100 m2, so it would only take 2 people about 20 hours to do the whole thing. This could easily be done over a few weekends and we’re going to try and go up there for at least 2 hours every Saturday and Sunday.
The rough plan until the start of winter, is to clear the whole plot of weeds, raised beds, dead plants + move the raspberry bushes, pull back the black sheets and move the logs, branches and wood away.
Next is the digging and rotavating, which we’ve now started. We’ll come back and do a more thorough dig and weed removal, but it’s a start and will help to get the process of the weather breaking down the soil going.
Next is to add manure / fertiliser / compost, which is essential to improve the soil and boost the somewhat limited productivity. Based on what we’ve one today, we might keep going with the digging and clearing then add manure as we go. It’s all a learning process and we’ll just see how it works out.
Another thing we’re going to try is green manure, which could be mustard, which is grown during autumn and winter, then dug into the soil, which then breaks down and adds nutrients back in. It also helps to retain the nutrients from the compost and manure over winter.
We’ve got a long way to go but it was an amazing feeling doing that small amount of work there today. Very inspiring and really good exercise! There’s something about working the soil for a productive end which is just amazing.