So this week I've spent just about all my time thinking about where to start with the plot, as well as having a think about the sort of things I want to plant, followed by some research into when to purchase, sow, plant out and harvest the various veggies I have in mind, which i then put in a spreadsheet along with a very basic layout idea. In terms of where to start I've decided that the easiest and most logical thing for me to do is start at the entrance and work my way up a section at a time. This means clearing the area around the sheds and making the inside of the polytunnel nice and tidy before I even consider any of the veg beds, and i'll be honest with you the inside of the polytunnel looks almost nightmarish, and I haven't been particularly looking forward to clearing it out.
However it needs to be done and with the weather looking cold but dry I thought I'd have 2 and a half days to attack the bottom quarter including the dreaded polytunnel, so after work(early friday finishes are the best) and pitstop at home for some lunch, I headed up to the allotment. As I only had an hour or so before the school run I decided to pass on the polytunnel and chose to clear the little area between the tunnel and my 2 sheds, which turns out is incredibly boggy and of course, like the rest of the place, overgrown. I'm not sure why the previous owner decided to build the little pallet fence area thing you can see in the pic below but I kinda like it and think it would make a great little potting area in the future.
The area is covered in various layers of weed fabric which obviously arent doing much use and as I said its boggy, underneath the membrane so walking around in there is how I imagine walking on a waterbed to be like. The bench you can see, is somewhat rotten and something I plan to get rid of, and the plan is to woodchip the entire area to help suppress the weeds and hopefully make it a bit more stable to walk on, I've just got to figure out where everyone on the site gets there woodchip from, whether they all buy their own or if it's something the committee/council can provide. There's no way I can move that bench on my own, as it needs lifting over the pallet fence so i'll have to ask a friend to come down at some point and give me a lift, so on with another job I wanted to get done which was to make it easier to actually get in the plot and see where I'm walking.
As you can see between the 'potting area' and this pathway, I managed to fully soak my gloves and overfill my wheelbarrow which I'd planned to take up to the top of the plot and add it to my temporary compost heap that I have started in one of those dalek style bins, however with it being so full and the ground being so uneven and boggy as soon as I tried to set off with the barrow it tipped over and spilled most the contents.... A few curse words later and I decided that i'd make use of the green wheelie bin that had been left and make it a bin for the 'green' part of my compost heap and then use one of the 3 brown bins for the 'brown' part, that way i can keep a reserve of each and add whichever the main heap requires as and when it requires it, and that was all I had time for on friday.
Saturday morning I was up bright and early so I could pop into work to borrow a van and transport some pallets to the plot for my future compost bin, with a view to clearing the area next to the shed and maybe put the pallets together and eventually ending up with something like this.
However as we all know the weather forecast is a semi-educated guess at best and saturday proved to be one of those days where the forecast said dry but the clouds said otherwise and whilst the day started gloriously it soon turned wet and windy, which meant a day indoors.
On sunday it was cold and misty but I wasn't going to let that stop me, so myself, the eldest and Loki headed off to do some more work and I was determined to make start on this hellish polytunnel. Arrived and got greeted by another plot holder called Fran, who wanted to introduce herself and basically told me everything about the plot that I had already been told but it's always nice to meet other people who have been on the site for a long time. Set the eldest on with finding any loose pots, labels and other small bits of rubbish laying around, whilst I began getting rid of the general tat in the tunnel, I then started removing the dead and rotting tomato plants into the 'green' compost bin and I soon filled this up, as such I've had to add a brown bin to the 'green' waste for now. Once the pallet bin is up and running i'll empty this one first. As the pic below shows, I've made a bit of progress but I still have a lot to sort out.
My original plan for the polytunnel was to have beds down both sides and along the back in a horseshoe style with a woodchip path down the middle, and this may still be a possibility, however the floor in here is even worse than that of the potting area so I'm really not sure what to do. Hopefully building a raised bed around the inside will be ok otherwise I may have to build some sort of table structure instead, I'm open to suggestions, opinions and advice from you folks too. As you can also see the pile of rubbish on my plot is fast mounting up and I actually think i'm about ready to ring the council for them to come collect, although you can pretty much guarantee that as soon as I do i'll find another tonne of rubbish which i'll the have to dispose of myself, HA! The only other thing me and the eldest got done was sort of prepare our first bed! Its a small raised bed near the shed which I've decided is the eldests' and as there was a pile of compost already on it I set him to work with a rake to level it out and then we covered it with some weed mebrane we had laying about.
He wants to grow some 'school' carrots(Regular carrots to you and me) in there and maybe some baby corn, if it keeps him interested and coming to the plot I have no problem with it although I could probably get more done wihtout him there it's nice having that father-son one on one time with him and after all it won't be long before he's a moody teenager that I have to pry out of his room just to shower haha. I'll be back on the plot next weekend, weather permitting, and hopefully will get that polytunnel fully cleared. My immediate plans now are the polytunnel and I have some strawberry plants in my garden that I want to transfer to the allotment although they may have to go in pots for next year(god knows there's enough of them laying around the place!) for next years crop as I don't think i'll have a bed ready in time and then it's a case of making sure I have as much rubbish piled up as possible for the council before I make that call. Anyways thats all for this week, thanks for reading and be sure to let me know your thoughts in the comments or on instagram or facebook, the links or at the bottom of the page.