Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Getting into a routine

I thought it might be useful to write down the routine I've established this year - everything changes so much over winter and spring that I forget from one year to the next what I was doing this time last year.

So... I'm trying out the half-hour allotment idea at the moment, from Lia Leendertz's book of the same name. I don't have the book myself, but have leafed through someone else's copy: I'm intrigued by the idea of giving the allotment regular but relatively short bouts of time, but disagree with her on a few points - she says, for example, that you shouldn't try to feed your family on this small amount of time, yet at the same time advocates not going up to the allotment at the weekend. So I've kind of adapted it: my mission is indeed to feed my family, and I do go up at the weekends (actually that's my longest chunk of time each week).

Monday-Friday: half-an-hour in the mornings between the end of the school run and starting work. This covers general planting out, earthing up, tending, troubleshooting, clearing beds, mulching, sowing new seeds.. whatever needs doing really. Except...

Wednesday: this is harvest day, when I go through and pick anything that needs picking. If we don't need to eat it, I freeze it that same day. This makes sure nothing goes to waste. I do pick things other times in the week - strawberries, for example, need picking over at least every other day when they're at full steam - but having a definite day makes it easier to keep on top of it.

Weekend session (usually 2-3 hours): watering, every week that we haven't had much rain; and either weeding or mowing. I do each every other week, so one week I'll weed through, the next I'll mow & strim the grass down. Other weekly tasks are picking over the crops again (as for Wednesdays), trimming off strawberry runners and pinching out tomato sideshoots. And I give the tomatoes an extra water with liquid feed added.

In addition to this, I fill the water-butt Wednesday and at the weekend to operate my wonderful automatic watering system, which is keeping the toms going beautifully!

So far it's working really well, on what I think is a minimal amount of time (good thing too given I'm juggling small kids, work, and my garden at home). It'll probably all have to change next summer, but hopefully I can build on this rather than starting all over like I usually do!

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