It’s been a few months since I updated on progress to me and my mum’s quest to return our new 5-rod allotment from overgrown weed jungle into a tidy and productive plot.
We’ve got all the fruit in now, which covers about a quarter of the space and consists of blackberries, rhubarb, gooseberries, a loganberry, a dwarf greengage, and two rows of late raspberries.
I prefer Autumn raspberries to Summer ones as I find the fruits are bigger, I and really enjoy harvesting raspberries later in the year when the strawberries have finished. I’d recommend both Autumn Bliss and Polka varieties, although I’d put Polka ahead by a nose.
A Severe Case of Crusty Top
The biggest problem we’ve faced so far is a severe case of the crusty top. Despite only being 400 yards or so from my old allotment, the soil in the new one is much more clay in its make-up. The recent sun has left the top like concrete, and considering I’ve still got to dig most of the plot over, was rather a demoralising thing to see.
Fortunately, mum gave me a pep talk and showed me a corner that she’d dug over last week. Once you get under the surface, the soil isn’t all that bad and in some parts was still fairly moist an inch or so down. It’s not as good as my previous plot, but there’s potential, and hopefully being clay the beds won’t dry out as quickly.
I think I was rather optimistic when I took the plot on, and secretly imagined a perfect growing space by this summer, even though the whole thing was covered in waist-high weeds. The weeds have gone, but standing back today I could see that this is a project that will take us a few seasons to get on top of.
The strategy is Working Out Okay
However, my strategy made even more sense to me today. Now the plot is generally de-weeded, we’re going to prepare space as and when we need it. Today we finished an area ready for the arrival of my spuds, and planting out our broad beans.
Next up is a bed for winter greens and leeks, and finally a space for squashes. The greens and leeks will go out in May and the squashes in June, leaving me plenty of time to dig over a room for planting these out.
My Old Plot!
I walked past my old plot, which is looking very neat and tidy and I must confess a little wave of nostalgia came over me as we gossiped over how the new tenant was running it. There is part of me that regrets giving up this plot so hastily – it is in such a great spot, the fruit bushes are coming right into their most productive time and the soil is much better than what I have now.
However, there are advantages to my new plot. There are no grass paths, for example, so no grass cutting – all I’ll have to do is how the weeds off during the summer. This fits nicely into my low maintenance allotment plot idea.
After feeling down at the cracking, dry surface on my arrival, I left feeling excited again. This allotment will be different from the old one, but a worth project none the less. And it’s amazing what two people can get done in a couple of hours.
We’re getting there. 🙂