Weekly Allotment Update – Polytunnel Prep, Mulching, Potatoes and a Quick Tour
It’s been a busy week on the allotments, spurred on by pretty great weather!
I’ve done a lot of work on Jennie’s plot, forking and mulching the potato bed with well rotted manure and preparing the potato pots. I’ve also mulched the brassica bed with spent mushroom compost, now all that’s left are the bean beds/frames and the winter/summer squash beds. Debbie and Jennie have made a start on the flower border and finished the strawberry bed (using plants from my plot)
On my plot I’ve focused on clearing the area where the polytunnel will go eventually, but more importantly creating access for the tree surgeon and his monster stump grinder. I’ve also refurbished (and reduced the size of) one of my mesh covers and put covers at the ends of the cloche that’s protecting my early strawberries.
Debbie has moved one of the – now homeless – narrow raised beds from my plot to hers and taken the last of the strawberries to the planting pockets under her fence. She’s also hard at work putting the finishing touches to her arches.
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 one of 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.
On Jennie’s plot, for example, we focus on potatoes, squash, alliums, and brassicas. This video provides an overview https://youtu.be/q1k-2vIoSQ8. I do a weekly tour/update of the plots that you can find 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 in 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. We are both newbie gardeners, only starting the allotments in 2016.
I’m a bit obsessive about the nutrient density of the veg that we grow and making the plots easy to work because it’s through this allotment lifestyle and food that I’ve overcome a debilitating auto-immune disease.
I’m always aware though that it might not last so I make sure that I don’t work too hard, eat the most organic fruit and veg I can and design the plots so that I can still work them if I flare up again.