Allotment Diary–Saturday 13 August 2016
It’s been a hard week on the allotment, hardly any planting and a lot of building. The main project has been to make, two large cold frames for early winter veg growing and early crops in spring and a deep hot bed that’s sunk into the ground by about a foot for late winter and early spring veg. The building was surprisingly quick, but the ground work took a long time, lots of clearing and a huge amount of earth and compost to dig out and move. I’ve decided to line the bottoms of these beds with fabric to reduce the weeds and to fill them with a mix of allotment made compost and fresh – weed free – top soil. In total I shifted about ten cubic meters of soil and compost, which included emptying three large compost bins and turning another one.
So I now have one bin that’s full and heating up, another that’s ready to be filled up as a hot bin made from the September clear out and two empty bins that will be where I will store the material to create the hotbed, later in the year.
The three new beds are nicely arranged pointing close to south and although they get a little shade from the runner beans currently, that won’t last long. They are fertilised with chicken manure, volcanic rock dust and seaweed.
The first one was planted up today, with veg that we should start to crop in late September and October. I’ve planted a nice mix of salads.
The second bed will be planted in a couple of weeks time, with a different salad selection. Cooked meals are well provided for as well, as we head into autumn and winter, by the late beans, carrots, beets, kale, sprouts, and broccoli.
I’ve also made a long raised bed that’s going to be used over winter for early broad beans and spring cabbage, both of these were planted today. The hoops will support nets, to reduce the worst of the wind and keep off pests. In early spring I might switch them over to cloches. When the cabbages come out in spring, they will be replaced by beans and peas. I have at least one more long bed still to make and a couple of normal raised beds too, but they’re not needed until next year, so there’s no rush.
Finally I created a little edible flower bed and a larger herb garden, something nice to look at as people walk onto the site.
On weeks like this it’s easy to forget that the allotment is about food, not timber, so I made sure I picked a good crop last night:
and another one this morning:
The allotment’s paid for all the original raised beds from from crops during it’s first three months and by the end of the year it will have paid for this phase 2 work, which is only 2/3 complete, as well.