Saturday 3 October 2020

Planning and Reviewing October in Previous Years

Reviewing the diary over the last eight years for October 

2012 - 19th October I took my first allotment on at Mill Green Plot 1, and got my key to the gate. I started this blog and recorded the state of the allotment before I touched it and then the progress made on the first day trying the clear the plot.

The purpose of the blog was to record my progress and perhaps get some feedback and comments on what I was doing right and wrong and to remind me how much I had actually achieved when I really didn't really feel like I was getting anywhere or moving as fast as I wished. This blog has grown into so much more than my original scope and reason for starting. 

I purchased my first three Allotment books, of many that were to follow, and got my first packs of seeds with two of the books I bought.   

2013 - By the end of September and the start of October this year I had eight beds in place and was still clearing weeds and putting in an infrastructure of paths and beds in place. I created a portable chicken wire hoop frame to stop the site foxes from digging up the beds as I was creating them. 

I had manged to source a number of paving slabs off freecycle. The first formal plan of how the plot was going to ultimately going to be laid out was drawn, and as I worked nearby most dry lunch hours were spent on the plot doing little and often.

I harvested Cabbages and Cauliflowers, Tomatoes and Potatoes and I had real peppers growing in the blow-away greenhouse erected next to the shed and on the 9th of October the company I was working for informed me that my job was at risk and I was on the Redundancy list!.

The end of October was very wet and I recall being very frustrated  that I would not be able to get on with building the infrastructure.  

2014 - September this year had been the driest on record, and I started October by harvesting Marrows for the first time, other harvests included courgettes, Onions, Spring Onions, Carrots, cucumbers then on the 4th & 5th October and we had the first frosts. Continued to harvest runner beans, beetroots and peppers from the greenhouse. Picking up leaves from the pavements and at the end of the month picking Brussel Sprouts and I came up with a neew design for the slug traps.    

2015 - Due to the developments around Mill Green I had taken on an additional plot on Spencer Road Allotment and was working on clearance and infrastructure as well as working on Mill Green Allotment during the start of the month because of the dry and mild weather.  Tomato plants still growing in the greenhouse, Cabbage seeds in modules. 

Keith dropped off loads of Strawberry runners, Cutting down Mustard green manure on plot 1A. Clearing 23B and marking the boundary and the first two beds weeded and installed.    

Harvesting carrots and beetroots and planting cabbage.

2016 - Saving Tomato seeds, Infrastructure works progressing on Spencer Road plot 23B. cutting weed membrane for paths, beds and planting membrane sheets. All the tomatoes in flower buckets in the back garden removed, Green tomatoes in the Space Saver waiting to go red. harvesting King Edward spuds, first frost 8th October and lost some squash to it. Rest of the squash harvested and stored in the shed. Runner Beans cut off at the bottom so those left on the plant can die and dry out and be harvested for seeds. 

Additional beds created at Spencer Road, Break-in's and damage by vandals every other night for a week. then rain stopped their and our play on site. Following a committee meeting we tried to get everyone's email address and set up a Spencer Road Facebook group so we can let people know when we see shed doors open or polytunnels burnt.

Over wintering onion sets in modules, Horse muck delivered  and barrowed to the plot laid on beds and in Daleks to rot down more as too fresh.          

2017 -  I started doing my seed storage box audit and producing lists here on the blog. During the first week of October Redrow finally did the work to create the drop off and pick up area that I managed to negotiate with them. I had made the decision that I was going to keep on Spencer Road long enough to get everything I needed for plot 1 on Mill Green moved over including the Dalek, Shed and bed frames etc. 

My son-In-law helped me remove items from Spencer Road and bring them to Mill Green. 

Clearing beds on Mill Green Plot 1 and putting them to bed. Gross miss management of allotment plots 138 plots that could have been occupied and bringing in revenue.  

I worked out how much weed membrane I was going to need to cover the plot and ordered it off ebay. 

Pumpkins for carving were picked up from Spencer Road and the kerb stones I had transported over were laid on flat along the bottom of plot I defining the boundary. The 29th October was a full day of clearing and burning debris from Mill Green plot 1 

The plan layout for my new kingdom was drafted out in CAD based on the vision I had in my head at the time of taking over the plot.  

2018 -  Not a lot on the allotment front actually happened in October 2018. Three weeks of rain and my brother-in-law Keith who was more like a brother to me was seriously ill and we didn't know it at the time but terminally ill, in hospital during this month so days spent visiting him rather than the allotment. 

2019 -  Woodchips for the paths dropped off, Daughters Wedding stopped allotment play followed by bad and wet weather meant that sorting out seeds and planning next year took place for a week and a half during the middle of the month.  

124 people out of the 429 people on the waiting list that a plot is just waiting for you to view and accept.

In terms of lost revenue as the vacant list are no longer shared I can be exact with figures as in previous years, but assuming the plots are a mix of 250m2 and 125m2 at one end and possibly 250m2 at the other the council is losing revenue of between £9,176 - £11,594 pa which would pay for an admin clerk.

Taking little man Finn down to the allotment to harvest Pumpkins for carving for Halloween Harvesting Mini White Cucumbers & Kiwano's 

2020 - October is normally the month for last harvesting and overwintering plus bonfires to clear the blighted foliage and if the weather holds infrastructure works and closing down beds for the Winter months.  

Below is the to do list in no particular order and catching up with what actually happened in September and what has slipped. The plan is now to get a few late crops in and to work on getting the plot ready for next season. 

Coronavirus UPDATE

Early into March I ended up self isolating because my wife is very high risk and from the looks we were in isolation for a lot longer than the 12 weeks.  My first visit to the plot was on July 21st Fathers Day.

My daughter and son in law kept a lot of the weeds at bay, but the bind weed beat them and now I'm in allotment rescue mode as well as putting in some new infrastructure and removing some so that remedial works can happen to a boundary wall. 

The second wave is coming, and this time I will be taking the opportunity of exercising on the allotment to get everything ready for next years growing season.  

To Do List  

Below is the to do list in no particular order of what needs to be done and what has slipped 

Mill Green - Plot 1A
  • Clear Bed 2 of Cabbages and cover - TBD
  • Progress on the wall rebuild behind Shed - Contractor Finally after much drum banging and chasing the Councils Contractor is due to carefully deconstruct the wall and replace it with a timber fence.
  • Remove and dispose of Corex on the roof - TBD once wall has been rebuilt
  • Re felt the roof of the shed - Additional Temporary covering made at the end of September to keep watertight until the roof can be replaced following the remedial works to the wall and site boundary.
  • Fix the potting Bench - TBD after the bindweed is removed. 
  • Clear the Wasp Nest in greenhouse 1A - To Be Done Hopefully during October
  • Rhubarb Bed to be created - I have now cleared the weeds in the bed and covered in cardboard in current location and will move the Rhubarb when I expose it again on plot 1, or perhaps buy some new.
  • Tidy Up the Allotment  - Ongoing 
  • Weeding - Ongoing   
  • Butternut Squash - Harvest and store this month before first frost   .

Mill Green - Plot 1
  • As much infrastructure works as the weather wilallow - Raised Beds, Paths etc.
  • Baking Potato Squash - Harvest and store this month before first frost   
  • Plant Butternut Squash - Harvest and store this month before first frost.
  • Clear the weeds and install a 600mm margin around the perimeter of the plot - Ongoing
  • Install the kerb edging along the bottom of Plot 1 - TBD
  • Trench for hose from corner of plot 1 to the tap and water butt - TBD
  • Prep the next Dalek area  - TBD
  • Empty Last years Apple Dalek and relocate to Dalek Army 2  - TBD
  • Cut and paint timber for the Square Foot Gardening raised beds - When dry and able  
  • Cut and paint timber for the Raspberries raised beds - When dry and able  
  • Beds and Paths -  Dig and weed the remaining square foot gardening beds and fruit beds. 
  • Erect the greenhouse - New Timbers have been cut and treated   
  • Tidy Up the Allotment - Ongoing over the Autumn/ Winter to be completed by March 2021
  • Stockpile Timber ready for burning  - Now covered to keep dry until Nov. 

  • Planning - Ongoing
  • Catalogue Seeds - Vegetables for 2021 
  • Cut Path Weed Membrane -  Ongoing when dry   
  • Cut Bed Weed Membrane - Ongoing when dry
  • Cut Planting Membrane - Make some narrow bed tomato planting sheets

  • None at the moment.- Add when remembered.

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