Last year we had good intentions of starting seeds off early indoors so we were one step ahead with getting plants out early. We had all of the stuff to do it, however time ran away with us and we never got organised. This year, however, we are much better prepared, and a few days ago Sarah got to work planting up some trays which we will keep in the house until they are ready to plant out.
Happy new year! I know we are a few days late in wishing that but better late than never. Over the Christmas break I managed to do a lot more clearing at the allotment, carrying on with our plan of three long beds on the footprint of the previous raised beds. All last week at work I had been looking forward to the weekend, having made plans for the allotment. One of the new things I wanted to try out was cooking some food on a little bucket BBQ while I worked.
On a chilly wet day finding a cosy indoor job is a rare luxury when it comes to allotmenteering. Cue today’s job: sorting out our seed stocks. Last year we made a fair few seed purchases giving us a broad selection of plants to play with. Due to the limited space we had managed to clear and the sheer quantity of seeds you get in a packet for some varieties, we have a number of part used packets and even a couple of unopened packs. Some of these have been kept in the shed if they were sown directly, others at home where we started planting early in pots and trays. We’ve gathered them from their various locations and now the organising can commence.
I was talking to someone at work other day, and needless to say the subject of our allotment came up. He was quite interested about the whole subject and asked me a question that I hadn’t really thought much about: “How much cheaper is it to grow your own compared to buying vegetables at the shop?” Up until now I have been focussing on other benefits such as taste, nutrition, satisfaction of the process as well the philosophy of growing your own. Its crazy that the idea this would save us a lot of money on our food bill hadn’t really occured to me.
A few days late for a July update but there we go! What a summer it’s been so far. We have had the first rain here in about 10 weeks and given how much we have neglected watering our allotment, things have done surprisingly well. We have been using some of the herbs from our little herb garden and have noticed the difference from dried supermarket herbs. We have also been making the most of the heat to dry next winter’s firewood.
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.