Monday, March 03, 2014

Designing a new allotment

Where to begin?

Starting a new allotment is at this time of year is tricky.
I am plagued with indecision. Should I wait to see if any useful perennials emerge? Or should I cover everything with black plastic for a bit?
If I go with the plastic, should I rake first to make it lay flatter or leave the bushy tussocks to rot down and eventually add to the humus in the soil?

1st raised bed weeded
 While I pondered these questions I set about making the most of what the last plotter had left me.
I weeded one of the raised beds....this is going to be my seed bed so that at least I can have something growing while I sort the rest out. I'll go over it a couple more times to get the rest of the couch grass roots then fill with a mix of compost and vermiculite for seed sowing

compost bins
I also pulled the couch grass from the compost bin and found underneath some good dirt that will be sieved and used to fill the raised bed. I've started taking veg peelings and chicken poop up to fill the right hand bin so hopefully I'll have plenty of compost/manure ready come autumn.

I have bought some weed membrane and put a couple of strips across the middle of the plot but it might not stay there.
A neighbour mentioned that there was a lovely, established asparagus patch somewhere to the right of this membrane so I'm going to hold on and see if any spears emerge. If they do I'll build the whole plot around them because I absolutely love asparagus and it takes so long to get going from scratch.

Weed membrane

The rent for these plots is astronomical. A ten rod plot costs £200 a year! Fifty odd plots on the site, probably forty or fifty sites in the borough. Must add up to a pretty penny. And for that, the council do absolutely nothing. They will not collect rubbish or provide a skip. They take no responsibility for paths or fences, there is no lighting and we garden at our own risk. It's easy money for them and a pain in the bum for me. I'm having to drive car loads of rubbish to the dump. My car is smelly and there are slug slime trails across the upholstery! I just know a big fat slug is going to land on me one of these days....probably as I'm bombing down the motorway!