Garden And Gardener

Everything for the Gardener and their Garden

New plot

by Sarah - May 6th, 2011.
Filed under: allotment. Tagged as: .

allotmentI’ve took on an allotment nearer my home. It’s never been used as allotments before so it’s a minefield of couch grass, broken bottles and rotting tins. Oh and clay. Lots and lots of clay.

It’s been hard work digging it. We have a rotavator but it’s like concrete on the surface of the soil so it needs turning over first and the big lumps of clay taking out.

We’ve had a good few weeks of dry weather so have been able to dig and dig as much as our energy would allow. It’s been so hot and sunny that I’ve already got a tan!

The soil isn’t particularly good but we’ve got a pile of horse manure to enrich it – and over the next few years it’ll slowly improve as we try out different ways of turning clay and glass into soil!

The space used to be a children’s playground back in the 60s and 70s but fell into disrepair and since then was abandonded by the council. The space isn’t overlooked and would not meet any of the new rules on locating play areas – so was destined to be waste land and space for yobs forever until someone got wind of a way of getting it turned into allotments at no cost to the council. The local councillor had been aware of the antisocial behaviour issues on this land for some time and the solution happened in a very short space of time from putting the idea forward to the work being done.

boat going pastThe land is against the canal on one side and this has now been secured to make the site safe. This means there’s a fantastic amount of wild life very close. In fact there’s a fox who hangs out on the field quietly sleeping in the sunshine and only glancing up occaisionally at the humans digging on his field.

On the canal are geese and ducks and the odd canal boat! The site is a real sun trap too! In recent days I’ve been stood in the middle of my plot surrounded by bird song, with a fox a few meters away, us both basking in the amazing sunshine we’ve had this April.

Other plot holders are finding they actually have soil and one plot is completely turned over and planted. Why didn’t we pick that plot! However they don’t have the canal view we have!

We’ve been putting our weeds in a huge pile too and have added some grass cuttings in the middle of the pile to get it going.

We have found treasure as well as broken glass – £1.19 so far, and a hallmarked spoon!

We’ve been using a mantis cultivator on some of the first beds we’ve dug (after attacking them with a big rotavator that only starts when you threaten to take it to the tip) and we’re getting some finer tilth now that we are almost ready to plant in.

One the first bit we dug I threw some potatoes in and then topped it off with some muck! These are coming up now – but so are the weeds as this bit we didn’t thoroughly remove the weeds. It’s a reminder though to ensure that you do get as much root out as possible when preparing soil. Plus if we earth the potatoes up the weeds might die off a bit – that’s the theory and potatoes are supposed to be a good crop for putting in new soil.