Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Phase 3 completed

Well - it took a while, but I now have about two-thirds of the allotment under cultivation. I've finished taking the turf off the next set of four beds, and the next step is to double-dig the new fruit beds and the raised beds where the potatoes will be (three of them this year!).

So far I have three sets of four beds, plus two groups of fruit beds marking them off from each other. One set of fruit beds is holding the strawberries - about to go out in January, as someone's advised me they don't like being mollycoddled too much. The other will hold blackcurrants, blackberries, gooseberries and rhubarb, if I can cram it all in!

Here's a rough idea of what it's all going to look like this season, with a bit of luck:

Root veg:
Early carrots
Early broad beans
Early peas
Late crop: Borlotti beans
Calabrese (early/mid/late season)
Duke of York (earlies)
British Queen (second earlies)
Strawberry beds:
Honeoye (early), Cambridge Favourite (mid-season) and an empty bed, this year to contain courgettes
Root veg:
Mid-season carrots
Mid-season broad beans
Mid-season peas
Late season crop: more beans for drying?
Summer cabbages (white + red)
King Edwards (maincrop)
Two beds of thornless variety tbc, underplanted with rhubarb
ShedGreenhouse (this year: tomatoes (cherry: Teardrop, plum: San Marino and beefsteak: Brandywine)
Hard standing for wheelbarrow etcSoft fruit:
Blackcurrants (Glen Parva), Gooseberries (Invicta), Rhubarb
Root veg:
Late-season carrots
1 wigwam of runner beans
2 wigwams of climbing French beans
Brussel sprouts
Winter cabbages (January King)
King Edwards (maincrop)

Saturday, December 09, 2006

A blustery day

... well, week, really. The recent appalling weather has taken its toll. I went up the allotment for the first time in a couple of weeks today to find.... disaster!

The wind had picked up the extremely heavy, solid wood roof of my shed and chucked it halfway down the allotment. Fortunately - since the shed is quite close to my neighbours' - the only damage done to anything else was the kids' sandpit, which was clobbered quite badly. The roof was still pretty much intact, which goes to show how solidly built it is.

I gave myself a small hernia lifting it up and manoeuvring it back towards the shed by a series of slides and shunts, and then somehow or other levered it back onto the top. I don't quite know how I did it - the first time, when we were building the shed, it took me, my husband and another bloke from a few allotments along, plus a stepladder, to wiggle it into place. The only disadvantage of carrying on visiting my allotment all through the winter is that there aren't that many other people around to rope in!

Everything inside is sodden, of course, as torrential rain accompanied the wind. Next week I'll take up a box of matches and light up the primus stove to dry things out a bit. Worse is that I now know the same thing will happen next time it gets really windy - and that means I'll have to think about how to build the shed a new roof. It already needs a new door surround - the current door fell off its hinges a few months ago and has been propped up by a bit of scaffolding board ever since.

If this was my garden I would, of course, be looking for a new shed. However, in the spirit of allotmenting, I'm going to make do and mend. Harder work, but far more rewarding in the long run (and you do get a wonderfully esoteric shed at the end of the day that's not quite like anything you've ever seen before!)