Tomorrow will be the first visit to the plot of 2012, and I’ll most be lugging manure around. The annual manure and dig day always feel like a fresh start, so I thought I’d jot down some of my aims and thoughts for the coming year.
I want to be much more organised this year, so plan to have a decent look at how I do things. This will mainly be around the space I use, and how efficiently I position my crops. What with getting married and doing lots more cycling I sometimes found allotment time hard to come by in 2011. The plot often got weedy and untidy, and some plants suffered from a lack of attention.
As a result, I spent time getting back on top of things when I should have been tending to delicate crops or enjoying summer harvesting.
Streamlining and Spacing Out
I’ve also set myself a non-allotment target of 5,000 miles on my bikes in 2012, meaning time is once again going to be pressed, so I’d like to streamline and make allotment jobs much easier. Initially, I considered not using one of my beds and turning it over to green manure, but now I’m contemplating better spacing of my crops.
In an attempt to be more compact, coupled with concern that I’d have enough room, I sowed very tightly last year. As is normally the case when allotmenteering, things never turn out how you expect, and naturally I ended up with loads of space.
Weeding became a real pain with everything so snugly packed, and I spent a lot of time on my hands and knees plucking weeds out. So, this year I’m going to be far more liberal with my sowing and planting space, and leave enough room for me to be able to simply stroll down a row and slice weeds up with a hoe (that’s the theory, anyway!).
Getting Better at the Troublesome Veg
Like every year, there is also some troublesome veg that I’d really like to nail. I’ve not managed a decent crop of peas since my very first allotment year, and I’ve also only ever grown one cauli that I could say I was proud of.
Parsnips are a work in progress but could be better, and if 2012 isn’t the year I finally grow a spring onion, I think I might just give up on the blighters!
Dave from Self-Sufficientish suggested testing the PH of the allotment soil in response to my recent parsnip post. This seems a great idea and might give me an insight into some of my plot problem children.
As for Real Men Sow, I vow from this moment on to keep up with my Google Reader. I have been absolutely hopeless with this in the last three months or so, which is really naughty, especially given the number of great people who take time out to read my witterings. Please consider my wrist firmly slapped.
I’d also like to take better photos – I’m toying with the idea of a new camera, as I currently use my phone. However, this seems quite a capable little thing, and I’m wondering if it might just be a case of taking more time over composing a picture, rather than merely pointing and shooting.
I’m sure I’ll think of loads more things to tinker with as I go along, as well as different veg to try, but that’s my main idea at the mo. How are you feeling about the coming year?
Feeling invigorated now the shortest day has passed? I hope so – after all, they’re only 79 days until Spring!