The Overhaul Of Jennie’s Plot is Finished (nearly)

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Today is a milestone for us as we finally finish the overhaul of Jennie’s plot. Our objectives were to: get the weeds under control in the orchard area, get rid of the grass paths, widen the paths and raise the beds so that we could put down a thick compost mulch.

All of these tasks were in service to our larger objective: reduce our workload. Less mowing, less weeding, less watering and easier access to all of the beds with a barrow.

Here’s a brief summary of what we did: we put down edging boards around all of the beds; in doing that we widened the paths, filling the resulting gaps at the edges; in the areas with the worst weed problems we dug out the weeds and put down a thick mulch of stable bedding; where we were covering grass we first put down half an inch of soil to help it rot; finally we laid down landscape fabric at double thickness, making sure to overlap it by about two feet at all of the edges. The overlap is important for weeds like bindweed and ground elder, the double thickness is key with mares-tail.

Even with all of this effort these weeds will still survive in a few places, for example they will push up around the tree trunks and under the hedges. We will spot weed treat these areas as required for a couple of years.

We also put down a good mulch of wood chips, compost and manure around the trees, before we put down the landscape fabric to provide nutrients, over time as the wood chips on top of the fabric break down they will also leach nutrients into the soil.

Today we finished the job, we put down a two inch layer of bark (really just composted wood chips) on top of the fabric. Finally we tamped it down well with a rake.

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If you are new to my allotment videos you might find a bit of context useful. We have three allotments in my family, mine (Steve), my wife’s (Debbie) and our daughter’s (Jennie). We also have a small kitchen garden at home. They are all managed in an integrated fashion, so don’t expect to see the usual mix of veg on each plot. Jennie’s plot for example focuses on potatoes, squash, alliums and brassicas. This video provides an overview https://youtu.be/q1k-2vIoSQ8. I do a monthly tour of each allotment, roughly one a week, you can find the tours here https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLFhKoRR-NiCJn5Y6rZf0RCCqycu3xvofX.

Our approach to allotment life is to: grow as much as we possibly can, to be self sufficient in veg all year round and in fruit for summer, to give away our huge surplus to friends and family and to have as much fun as possible.

My wife and I spend about 4 hours a day, 4 days a week on the plots (on average) and we keep nudging that down as we eliminate non-productive work, like grass cutting, weeding and watering as much as practical.

Steve Richards

I'm retired from work as a business and IT strategist. now I'm travelling, hiking, cycling, swimming, reading, gardening, learning, writing this blog and generally enjoying good times with friends and family

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