Sunday, 31 January 2021

A Change of Plans & Name


I've been thinking of naming my allotment after a thread on one of the Facebook groups asked what plot holders call their plots, and I have decided on Avalon as I'm into the Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table    

The isle of Avalon has been, for centuries, a mythical place that symbolizes purity, abundance and magic, and which is the reason for the strong significance it has had in Western culture for so many years. It's the reason I chose the name because for me the allotment is a magical place were I get to play with the soil and get in touch with nature. 

As I see the gate to the drop off and pick up area, I feel at ease and pieceful. By the time I get to the inner gate and can see my plot the magic happens, all the burdens and worries that I had outside the magic Isle evaporate and the birdsong get louder and is wonderful to listen too.   

We have had so much bad weather during January and my wife has been having problems standing from sitting and has needed a lot of assistance for a week or two, so I have not had the number of visits to the plot and have not made the progress I wanted during January. 

With my wife's better mobility and with Kelly around to keep an eye on her plus it being dry, I was up early and it was -0.5C and the windscreen was frozen when I left for Avalon. I love getting to the allotment and enjoying the birdsong and the quiet at 8:00am. 

For at least two hours I had the whole of the site to myself until the normal faces ambled in for various reasons and durations. Being the first plot after the main gate most wave and say good morning or stop and have a short chat before continuing on to their respective plots.

As I arrived I realised I had not brought the circular saw with me, but looking at how little wood chip was left I decided a change of focus and plans were in order. So decided to deal with the two paths between the last two raspberry beds and if there was enough time get the compost bin that the storm took on a trip onto the neighbouring plot finally installed at the end of Dalek Army II. 


The path on the left needed to be dug and weeded for the last 1.2m, but the path on the right of the photo above was weeded when I put the bed in. I overlapped the weed membrane that I had cut to 660mm wide with the main path and then proceeded to bring the wood chip in, and lay between 50 - 75mm deep and then compact with the front of the rake. The photo was taken as I got to filling about half way as I thought it was a good shot to show how I cut and use the weed membrane under the wood chips. 

The frost had done a good job of breaking up the soil in the last raspberry bed so I raked and levelled it off. I have a Dalek full of acidic compost to put in when I get the last of my raspberries which should be in March   


Above is a photo once the two paths had been installed from the main path. I did use a fulcrum to leaver up the third bed up a little as I was filling up the paths. The wood chips get dropped off in the corner of the drop off and pick up area aka the car park, and I am so glad that I'm the first plot in from the gate. My feet and legs are not as good as they should be thanks to the type 2 diabetes and my 23 year old mind keeps forgetting I have a 63 year old body.     


This was the view from the area in between the Raspberry beds and the Daleks that needs clearing and covering. One of the next jobs is to dig and weed a strip 900mm wide along the back of these raspberry beds and install the path to 600mm width. Looking at this photograph that first path on the left could do with another layer of wood chips when I install the next path.   


I dug the area where the last (for now) Dalek is placed and managed to get a trug load of couch grass and mares tail roots out before bedding the Dalek in place. I had some offcuts of weed membrane that I laid around the new Dalek and along in front of the last three. I placed some lumber at the end and in front of the Daleks and then wood chipped them in. 


Having a new empty Dalek didn't last too long as I have used it to store the many buckets of shredded paper and cut up cardboard that I have been processing using the cardboard that Christmas generated. Lots of browns for mixing with the greens produced this year to make lovely compost for next year.  


Dalek Army II looking a little congested at the moment. The lumber that was all stood up so that it could dry off, if we ever get a few continuous dry days, was either blown over and did the domino thing or a fox pushed them over.   


Having seen the Daffs and Bluebells coming up in the comfrey bed I thought I better remove the weed membrane from the Tulips and Daffs that I put into the corner bed of plot 1A. My plan is to move these in the green to along the path between plot 1 and Plot 2 on my side next too the kerb stones I have installed for a flash of colour in front of Dalek Army II and as some food the the bees that live in plot 14A opposite the end of plot 1 on the other side of the main path.   


Looking down the allotment at the area where the square foot gardening beds are to be installed. The very end is currently full of the debris and rubbish I inherited when I took on plot 1. I really want to get the frames painted and screwed together and the beds dug over and weeded. I'm hoping for some dryer weather in February so that I can make that happen. 

The Battenberg paving slabs that I was using as a path, before the main woodchip path was installed are to go around the back of the new greenhouse. 

The green manure is not at a point where it needs to be cut and dug in just yet. The fencing needs to be cut into panels for the back of the square foot gardening beds.

It's hard to explain but time goes slow and fast at the same time when I'm on the allotment. I've learnt not to push myself and to plod along taking micro breaks and mix up the heavy duty and light duty tasks.  

There never seem enough time to get done what my mind has promised me I can, that's the 23:63 mind to body ratio, but the when 1pm arrives and I pack up and leave to get home by 1:30 for Sunday lunch those 5 hours feel like only 2 or 3 at the most!             

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