Sunday 11 August 2013

Sunday 11th August 2013

Up bright and early (OK Ok early) at 6:00, breakfast and down on the allotment for about 6:45 - I love these early mornings, me and nature alone as the day starts.

I've been looking at the last of the woodchip by the front gate, and decided to bag up some more and take to my plot as the pile on my plot, on what will be the final bed (no 12) is decreasing rapidly.

It took so much effort to arrange the first couple of drops of woodchip, and I don't want to get to a stage where I can finish off the paths on my plot. I also spread some of it around the area between the outer gate and the inner gate where it was thinning and the clay was beginning to show again. 

Ideally if I can get enough slabs off freecycle I would love to have paved paths between all the beds.

The guy doing my front drive has said that he will drop off the 600 x 600mm ex council paving slabs that I bought from the contractor when they lifted them and replaced them with tarmac, some twenty odd years ago. These were used to form the parking bay to my house, with red and white paving bricks either side to act and a landing strip for the wife when she reversed onto the drive. 

The 600x600mm paving slabs will form the central path to plot.

The hard landscaping contractor  is also going to drop off the slabs under the window, and the kerb edging  to the allotment for me when he starts on our new drive, which is looking like sometime late August / early September.

Next on the agenda was to screw in the eyebolts for the wires to support the grapes, and then add the wire.  OK strictly speaking not really needed until next year but hay it's nice to be in front for a change and not in catch-up mode. 

Still no comfrey in the milk bottle from the comfrey pipe!, so I decided to add a little water at the top and some nice rich black comfrey stated to dip from the bottom, so it must be decomposing nicely in the pipe. 

I also had some nice decaying comfrey that I had put into large industrial ice cream containers. I put the comfrey into a container,  then added another container full of bricks as a press. The first time I did this I added water and the results weren't bad, the second time I did it dry and the result was black decaying comfrey with a little pure comfrey liquid. I added some water and tried to filter but the strainer just blocked up. 

So I decided to add this gloop to the comfrey pipe, the results were fantastic, gravity did the job for me and I've ended up with a litre bottle of rich dark comfrey that will be watered down to a weak tea colour  and used to feed the tomatoes twice week, now they have lots of fruit.  In the past I never bothered to feed tomatoes but, feeding twice a week is what the forum and various books recommend.

The plum tomatoes are doing really well, so are the gardeners delight , and even the sole surviving 100s and 1000s all there but all green, not a single red tomato to be seen yet!

Next on the agenda was a bit of a general  tidy up and being sick of seeing the post and rope fence laying on its side waiting for me to get to the end of the dig, I decided to grasp the nettle (not literally)  and augur the holes and stick the post in at least they are vertical - ish (remember the Comfrey Pipe ).

I took the next batch of spring onions (grown in modules) , and sowed them into the end of Bed 2 where I had harvested the 2nd early potatoes and weeded and removed as many stones and bit of glass as I could.  So one and a half rows of clumps of onions now live there. Note to self must grow more spring onions at week to fortnightly intervals next year.

Finally I got to what I had really gone to the plot to do - The digging and weeding of Bed 9!

The usual mixture of metal, timber pallet remains and glass, Oh and not to mention weeds and roots came out in fact 5 tugs worth came out of an area about 2.4m x 3.6m = 8.64 square metres. I worked until 12 as I had to go and pick up my youngest daughter Kelly who had been to a gig and after party in London and had booked into a local hotel to recover and not have to try and get home in the early hours of the morning.

A quick lunch and then Jen and I returned about 2 ish and I continued digging. Finally about 4:30 Jen watered the plants and I used the hopped framework again to set it out Bed 9. Boards were used to compress the soil 600mm around the bed and then, I shuffle walked on them to compress them even more. It truly amazes me just how much air there is in the soil once it has been dug over and weeded.

So next visit will see more shuffle walking the paths and then laying of cardboard and weed membrane - the better stuff folded and not the naff thin rolled stuff I picked from the 99p shop and then a layer of woodchip from the ever diminishing pile!

Grape Vine

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