Saturday, 13 March 2010

Making new beds

Well, down the allotment I went today, with a helper - huzzah! My friend, Nick (a star of a friend, if ever there was one) volunteered digging services today. Of course, I happily accepted :) While I waited for him to arrive, I gave my shed's potting bench a dust down and found these bulb cards hiding. Now I know what should be popping up in the 2nd bed, 'shed end'. This is great as I didn't really make a proper note of what I planted. Tut tut! This is one of the great things about a blog - a searchable record of what went where, when :)

I also took some snaps of yet more shopping I did on Friday evening - more seeds for this year:
Celariac: giant prague, sugarsnap peas: sugar bon
& kohl rabi: purple vienna (which I have never eaten,
in any form, so this will be a proper first!)

Sunflowers: sunburst mixed, marrow: long green bush2 
(LOVE marrows!), leek: lyon2 prizetaker (sounds promising!), 
& some mixed annuals - planning to plant these in strips 
at each end of the veg beds.

The crocuses growing next to the shed are also further on than last week. lots more of these stunning purple ones and each one open. Sigh :) Looks like even more will come out soon too.

So, what did we do? Well, I attacked the 'dump mound', left by the last tenants, next to the globe artichoke, on the end of my herb bed. It was full of old potatoes of various varieties and jerusalem artichokes (all rotten), as well as loads of bloody sloe tree roots! Grr! Ahem. My cunning plan for this area is to build a cold frame. It should then be sheltered by the shed and close to it for moving and acclimatising my new plants. The soil, once I'd attacked it for a couple of hours, was perfect. Just right for purpose :) No raking needed - which is good as I snapped the rake before Xmas! I also dug out last year's woody spinach so there is another bit of bed ready for something new, next to my tree onions. The pic above shows how it looks now. I really want to get hold of some scrap wood to edge these beds, now I know I will be keeping them like this. I shall keep my eye on skips...

Nick, well, he's a digger. A digging machine, who will work as long as there is a supply of tea and biscuits (and cake!). I set him about digging over last Sunday's new bed which I'd de-turfed. I was going to bury the turf but he ended up shifting it onto an existing mound behind the shed. Out of sight out of mind ;) One day I will sort it out. Perhaps. This just needs attacking with a rake - which I need to buy. Nick did take one off the shed (read earlier posts if this sounds odd!), but I reckon it will snap soon enough, like the other one.

Bed dug over, time for tea. Nick brought his camping stove and some chocolate biscuits. Nick rocks! :)

His next task was to dig another new bed, a bit bigger this time, between the strawberries and the other globe artichokes/spring onions/asparagus. Safe to say he did this MUCH quicker than me last weekend. But then I am a feeble girl ;) Again, this just now needs to be raked over, once one is purchased!

The other job we did was to move 3 compost bins out from behind the shed and under the trees, into the open. I am hoping being in full sun will create some heat to break things down faster. It also means they are easier to get to. We put lots of the rotted compost onto the beds and Nick dug it in. I was on barrow duty. I also put the unrotted compost back into the bins. To be honest, a lot of what was in the bins was trash, literally! Jam jar lids, sweet wrappers, crisp packets, carrier bags. Doesn't make any sense to me. Hardly going to rot down eh. There were also lots of sticks, stones and bits of metal I also picked out. At least I know what's in the bins from now on will be useful for the allotment!
This last pic shows the 1st bin we moved - the bin far right was already out on the plot. I now have 2 more black bins between the two. I may move the black ones down to the other end of the plot, the 'road end', so there is compost on each half.

Well, might pop down the allotment tomorrow, might not. We shall see! I do need to mow though. Claire's mower wouldn't get going today so I think it needs some 'go-juice'! Hope you're making the most of the finer weather this weekend. :)


Kella said...

Wow! can I borrow Nick, I'll even make him some tasty sandwiches along with choccies.

If you aren't in arush to deal with the out of site out of mind turf mound, then just cover with a dark sheet of plastic/ tarpaulin and next year it will be all rotted down ready to be spread onto your beds next spring.

I hope to get to the plot tomorrow, I was there late this evening recieving a small pile of manure.

Steph said...

well, i know he is partial to rock cakes so u could tempt him to your plot with those :)

was it wrong to titter at u receiving a small pile of manure?! ;)

Jo said...

You've been busy, you've got loads done. It makes such a difference to have a helper.

Maureen said...

Hi Steph, first of all thanks for leaving a comment on my craft blog about the throw, and secondly I'm glad you did as now I have come to have a look at your blog. I see that you only got your plot mid-way through last year, so this will be your first full year ! it's so exciting isn't it ? Kella's advice is good re: the turf you dug up. I widened my borders in the garden last year, and left the turf upside down in a corner and the pile is rotting down nicely, and will be good compost maybe later on in the year.

Steph said...

hello maureen! nice to have someone new looking at the blog.

right then, i will cover over my pile of grass when all the beds are done. i am fed up with so much grass on the plot, a lot of it from when i inherited. so much needs to go - but not all. i do like grass paths. something nice to sit on when weeding :)

tracey @ the vintage bothy said...

Hi I could do with Nick,although I only have chocci bourbons today, how lucky are you?!
I have 5 birch trees to plant in ground that has 6inches of top soil and then 2-3 foot hardcore to dig through! I want to do it today but am supposed to be sorting out my vintage fair and sort my stock for a fair on Saturday.....where do you start??
Keep up the good work I haven't yet ventured into my veg patch even though I know I should be planting already!

Steph said...

Everyone wants a Nick! I'll pass this onto him and I'm sure I can make him blush ;)

I've not blogged yet about the other antics he's been up to this week. He's a star!

Jules said...

You've done so much work - and your lottie is looking really good! I'm also growing Giant Prague celeriac this year (first time with this veg) so we'll have to compare notes on how they do!

Steph said...

we can compare notes on the celeriac. hope you know what you're doing cos i dont! :)