Good morning, everyone. Yesterday turned out beautifully with wall to wall sunshine once the early clouds had disappeared. Perfect allotment weather with sunshine, a breeze and not too warm!
After picking Beth up and bringing her here (she went home on Monday evening because of the cats but still had to work at mine because her internet was still down - it's been repaired now), I pootled off down the allotment again.
I started by strimming around the edges but had to stop with only a quarter done because the plastic 'cord' ran out. At least, I thought it had run out. When I got home again I looked to see what kind I needed to get and, lo and behold, it hadn't run out, it had just got stuck. That'll teach me! I ordered some more anyway as it won't be wasted. I might have the time to pop down today, just to finish that, but I will have to see as today is a bit crowded.
Having left the first task unfinished, I got on with more digging and clearing. The rain on Monday had made the soil very heavy again so it was very slow work but it's getting there. It's definitely loads easier than last year and the whole plot is looking considerably more respectable again. Maybe I can cut the grass on Saturday, weather permitting, and that will make a HUGE difference to the look of the place.
We've decided on this year's layout pretty much now. If you imagine the plot running from front to back, divided into strips going from side to side, this is the plan.
The first strip is covered with membrane and wood chippings (and weeds at the moment) and has the two apple trees, the redlove and the not-Coxes - Beth can't remember the name but I've looked around and it might be a Laxton.
The second strip is the biggest area and about two thirds of that is covered with ground cover 'plastic' as the whole bed had been invaded with nasties like ground elder and bindweed. The first third is open and has been prepped and, from left to right will have broad beans (and then dwarf green beans as they were such a success last year - thanks, Diane, for the recommendation), tomatoes and baby corn.
We've decoded to uncover one side of the covered area, on the right, about a metre deep, maybe a bit less, and put in some bedding plants, just for a splash of colour.
Then the next strip is also covered like the front strip and has the pear and plum trees. Both the fruit areas need a jolly good weeding and the back chippings need replacing or covering. There's loads of chipping for free at the site so it's just a case of getting on with it.
Then another strip of soil which I started prepping yesterday. It's pretty heavy soil and I have some sand that I want to mix in at some point, plus manure and organic compost. At the moment here's loads of clover which makes good green manure, I gather, so I am trying to dig that back under while also taking out the nastier things that are starting to come up.
Anyway, again thinking from left to right, we will have mange tout, yellow courgettes and Charlotte potatoes - the last taking about half the space there.
The final strip is subdivided from front to back. The left hand side has the two smaller raised beds in front of two compost bins. The first raised bed will have carrots, radishes and spring onions and the second, strawberries, as I mentioned yesterday.
The middle area has Autumn fruiting raspberries behind runner beans. Then there's a chipped pathway and, finally, on the right, four rhubarb plants, enough to keep the whole cul de sac provided with rhubarb!!
There's a very old and rusty wheelbarrow behind the shed and, if I can get it up (it seems to be embedded in the ground), we might put in some soil and some water retaining granules and use it for trailing flowers, perhaps, and stick it in the middle of the covered area. It would look - er - rustic, but might work.
Anyway, that's the plan for this year. Thanks for bearing with me as I think it through. We've pretty much got everything except for some strawberry plans so it's ho! for the garden centre in March sometime, seeing as they are open.
The rest of the day was lovely too. I took Beth and Alex to pick up the car and then came home, ready for a chat with Dad. However, he had fallen asleep so it never happened - maybe on Thursday instead.
Today is really busy.
It starts with an online Zoom funeral for a member of the Slimming World club.
Then I have personal training with Lindsey.
After that, it's my weekly chat with Val - maybe we can meet in the garden again reasonably soon. That would be nice.
Just after four, I'm having my vaccine - yay!
And the, in the evening, I'm going to an online Thermomix demo on Zoom.
I will be tired this evening and you can see why I doubt I will get to the allotment today. :-)
Have a great day and be safe, everyone.