Today, I decided to make my first visit of the year to the allotment. Mainly because I needed to start work on it by the end of the month and partly because it was a lovely sunny day and my main free day this week on which to go.
I'd had a few emails from the committee in recent weeks, not to me personally, but just general allotment business emails to all plot holders, where they'd asked everyone to start work on their plots by the end of the month or face the consequences! In addition, the committee had been assessing the state of the paths around plots and had listed all the plots that needed some work to clear or widen paths to the correct width.
I was relieved to note that my paths were not ones that were highlighted. To be honest, I've got enough on my plate trying to figure out what I'm going to do to create new edging for my beds, as the wood we used when we originally set up my plot is now well and truly rotted, as are the small posts we put in to keep them upright and they all need completely replacing.
As a consequence, on this visit, I decided I was going to measure all the edges of the beds, so that I would know how much wood I would need if I decided to go down that avenue again. Then I can at least calculate the potential cost by a quick trip to the garden centre or salvage yard.
The only problem was that I was half way there before I realised I'd forgotten the tape measure and pencil/paper to note down the measurements. I decided I'd have to get creative. I had a pen in the car and an old car park ticket and decided that these together with my wellies would just have to do. I dutifully measured the edges by how many boot lengths they were and will be spending this evening deciphering and calculating my results, once I've measured the length of my wellies.
I have got a few other ideas for edging the beds which I may consider if the wood option is too expensive. One involves bricks sunk into the ground. I can't remember where I saw it, somewhere on line, but it gave an interesting effect and might be possible to use old bricks if I can find a good source.
Anyway, I hadn't been to the plot since the end of October I think, so I was kind of dreading what I'd find. Here's a couple of pictures of what it did look like after being left all winter.
The bed in the second picture didn't really get a good dig over in the autumn, as the soil was quite hard, so I began there and dug it all over and put in a row of potato tubers (next to where the canes are lying on the ground) to help break up the soil. Here's what it looked like afterwards.
Then I dug over the main large bed, taking out lots of old potato tubers that I'd missed last year and which were now sprouting. I could have left them in, but I don't want to plant my tubers in this bed this year, so didn't. It took a good couple of hours to dig over most of the plot, by which time I was starting to flag but I was happy with what I achieved.
It looked a lot tidier. I still need to tackle the mint in the far corner as it is getting quite unruly, needs cutting back and some digging out. I set aside most of the rotting wood from the bed edges as it was just getting in the way. I'm going to put some of this wood chip on my paths on my next visit, when I remember to take a spade and a rake with me.
I was going to stay a little longer and sow the lettuce, onions and broad beans, but I got caught in a torrential downpour and had to pack up and come home, still pondering on what to do with the bed edges.
I might have to do a bit of research on Pinterest to resolve this issue. (There goes another few hours!) I can't see me doing much in the immediate future, until I have some funds available. Maybe next month.