Friday, October 26, 2018

Getting Mucky

I couldn't face a full week in the office, how I long for retirement!! So as I still have a good few days holiday left I booked off what looks like the last warm day for a while to go muck hunting and get the plot manured and covered.

Our local stables has a HUGE pile of muck they are happy for people to help themselves to and it's only 5 minutes from the plot. I moved a total of 25 bags like this, that works out to about 3 bags per half bed square. I used rubble sacks to protect the car, as well as covering the interior in plastic dust sheets. . This is the point I wish I'd bought a car with a tow hook and a trailer!!

One advantage of evening up all the bed sizes is that I can now cut my covers to a standard size which means less folding, flapping in the wind and acting like a giant sail to catch the wind and pull the covers off. I like a large roll of he black covering material but that's about £65 and there are other projects in the queue first.

So apart from bits where there are still some crops growing which I'll come back to once they are finished, we are done.

Just this fruit bed to tackle now but I'm still deciding exactly what to do with it.

Happy gardening folks!!

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Cross Paths

Don't worry, the allotment paths aren't angry, but I  have finally put in the cross paths that divide the 5 beds into 10. The extra growing space I gained from adding the bed edges meant these paths didn't cost me any growing space but do improve both access to the beds and the look of the plot.

A total of 15 x 6ft lengths of decking were required along with the corner blocks, weed control fabric, 1 1/2 water butts of wood chippings and a total of 140 screws! The generator earnt its money running the power tools for this challenge.

First I had to dig out the 2 channels either side of the path

Then fit the first 2 full lengths of decking 18 inches part, cut the remaining length required for each side and join them.

Once they were all screwed in place, the soil raked back and tamped down the path was covered with weed control fabric and a 2 inch layer of wood chippings. These had been donated to the site by a local tree surgeon, so free.

All sounds very simple, now do it 5 times!

The final result is a lovely a cross path across all the front 4 beds that line up nicely, and 1 across the back bed. The spring onions had to go to fit it in the back bed, but no other veggies were harmed in the making of these paths 

I actually got a full 8 hour day in on Saturday so I weeded, raked, cut raspberries down, strimmed and used soil to try and level and even out the grass paths, the grass should grow through and hold it all in

So while it looks bare the plot looks tidy and in good shape for the start of next season. Just manure it and cover. That will hopefully be next weekend as the temps are dropping now.

Happy gardening folks!!


Monday, October 15, 2018

And so to bed...

A lovely sunny Saturday down here in Essex, a pity about the Sunday though. I finally got the last bed frame put it and the new compost bin area finished.

This was a tricky one as the ground slopes differently on each side, but I'm not displeased with the results. Just the grass path at one end to sort out when I do the adjoining fruit bed. I still have the cross paths to do. Hopefully I'll get to those next week if the weather holds.

One compost bin is in its new home, the others can wait until I empty them again in the spring. I've only just moved them so I know there is nothing usable in them, seems like work for works sake to do it again now. Once they are all in place I'll mulch round them to keep the weeds down and let them do there thing for the year.

There are still a few things to pick, another rather nice Greyhound cabbage and a few chilli's. These are some slightly deformed Habanero and some Orange Wonder.

This may be the new shorter format for future posts, I'm still thinking about it though.

Happy gardening folks !!

Monday, October 08, 2018

The Clear Up Begins..

The farm never seemed to get as green and bushy this year as it has done in previous years, thanks mostly to the random weather. It always looked a bit like it was struggling this season with too many gaps.

Pretty much everything has finished now, we've had a couple of sharp frosts already in Essex, a look at the Currently Growing list shows what we've got left and compared to a few plot neighbours its not a lot really. 

My cross breeding pumpkins never really made it with only a hint of orange, but I'm pleased with the greyhound cabbages, kale and chilli's.

Given that we are not big fans of the winter gardening we've been busy clearly the beds ready to manure and cover. I have one more raised bed edge to do, which is scheduled for this weekend, the woods already purchased. This one will be the standard 19 x 8 1/2 feet with a 3 foot extra of frame on the end for the compost bins which are moving to a new spot for next year.

I emptied the compost bins last week to move them to allow me to do the new edges and got one full bin of useable material which I spread around, and a shock when a rat with a foot long body shot out as I lifted one of the bins. It's a good job Heather wasn't around, I'd be deaf by now!

The raised beds have already saved me a lot of time managing the grass edges this year so if I can get the last one done soon we'll be in a good position for next year. I am going to divide the beds in half with a raised wood chip path across the middle. Ideally I'll get this done before we put the covers on, but time and weather may affect that one.

The digging was pretty easy but did show that the soil was still pretty dry, I'm going to leave the covers off for a bit longer in the hope of rain to replenish the moisture ready for next year. I have to go and collect some builders buckets of manure before they go on too. It was worth digging the potato bed over again as it yielded about a plants worth of spuds that had been missed...

I love the look of a freshly dug and raked bed

So still growing we have:

Bed 1 - Cape Gooseberrys, Chard, Spring Onions and Tomatoes  

Bed 2 - Carrots, Parsnip!, Beetroot, Leeks and Asparagus

Bed 3 - Cabbages, Kale and Courgette

Bed 4 - Chillies

Bed 5 - Just cucumber and the last sweetcorn plants to come out.

The fruit bed is next years project, I'm still thinking about that one. 

The blog posts have been a bit sparse this year, a time thing again, something that affects a lot of bloggers I think. I'm thinking of changing the format from a large blog articles which take time to sit and write, to smaller posts from the mobile app, more like Facebook or Instagram posts. Smaller but more regular. I'm still thinking about this one. 

Hope you've all still got plenty growing and are on top of the jobs.

Happy gardening folks!