In a few articles we have mentioned our plans to incorporate crop rotation on the allotment. Contrary to the comedic mental image of spinning vegetables, this is a very effective way to manage your allotment’s soil preparation and to reduce the risk of crops being thwarted by any soil-bourne nasties that can build up.
We have had a little bit of a rethink on the layout of our plot, as the inherited raised beds are revealing how past it they really are. All of the corner posts are rotten at the bottom; all of the lower boards making up the walls have completely disintegrated and a few of the upper boards are in a rough state too. In short we are looking at more of a complete rebuild with new materials rather than making running repairs. Then there’s the matter of 5 out of the 9 beds not having any extra soil in. The more we’ve looked and thought, the more we have realised that reinstating these beds will be more hassle than its worth.
Another milestone today – we harvested and cooked the first of our courgettes. Only two of them have reached a good size, however there are plenty of smaller ones which can develop now that these two are not taking up most of the water and energy from the plant. We have been watching these bad boys grow steadily over the last week or so, keenly awaiting them to be big enough to use and today was that day.
We have food! Not a huge amount, granted, but it’s a start. Tom was at the allotment in the week and saw that some of the few surviving first batch of broadbeans have ripened; needless to say these were picked just before leaving the allotment. Towards the end of my visit there I noticed little flecks of red in some of the long grass that are we yet to strim. I had a closer look to find some strawberry plants… bit of a cheeky result!
Well as we suspected the allotment has gone from really quiet to ridiculously busy at the drop of a hat. The weather over the last month or so seems to have given anything plant based a huge boost with the really wet few weeks followed by last week’s heat wave. Don’t take this as a complaint by any stretch of the imagination! Having had a long cold winter it’s glorious to see so much vigour and life in the garden.
A few days late we know but we wanted to say a few words about the last month on the allotment. It’s been a very productive month in terms of figuring things out, beginning to get beds cleared and plan where we are going. We’ve made sense of the plot and have a better idea of what work needs to be done. We now have a nice new shiny set of hand tools which should last us a good while, and I’ve gotten into an enjoyable little routine on a Saturday of going over there for an hour or so armed with a flask of coffee to get to work.
Another aspect which we are exploring is how we handle rubbish. On the allotment (and indeed in the kitchen) we will be producing a fair amount of green waste, which can be put to good use in our composting bins. Along with the shed, we inherited two plastic composting bins on the allotment, which has some compost already in. Whats there is mixed; theres some usable stuff, with some unrotted material in there as well. We will make a sieve from scavenged materials to sort this out sometime soon. Once emptied we will start afresh with empty bins for the coming year.