Today (Sunday) was the only day I made it to the plot this week but what a day! I really feel this has been the most productive day I’ve had on the plot since taking it on. Seriously, there’s been a lot of progress.
I arrived at about 10am and there were 4 other plot holders already working including Dan and Michelle (Michelle had been there since 7.30!) The plan for today was to install the squash ladder, plant the squash and pumpkins and do a general tidy up ready for the leeks and spring onions to go in later. This is what the plot looked like at 10am.
I was on the plot until about 4pm, as was Dan and he helped me throughout the day – thanks Dan!
I’ve been feeling pretty bad about the paths on my plot. Everyone else on the site has lovely grass or wood chip paths – all much tidier than mine which are bare earth with lots of weeds scattered about all over them. I know mine look like that because of all the digging I had to do to remove all the rubbish but, even so it’s still a bit disheartening to see it look so unkempt. Dan came to the rescue and showed me how we can make my paths look as good as everyone else’s by gently turning over and raking the top layer of soil to create a flat area of path which I can sow grass seed on. I spent a couple of hours digging over and raking the path between the squash and potato beds ready for it to be seeded.
Dan then asked what I was growing in the old potato pot (as it happens, old potatoes!) and, when I couldn’t give him a coherent answer we agreed to empty it and move the pot out of the way. I’d used bags of compost to earth up the potatoes last year so the soil in the pot was, basically compost broken down and improved by having had potatoes growing in it. We spread it across the strawberry bed, all round Rhubi and the 2 empty beds on that side and they suddenly look great!
Dan is absolutely obsessed with straight edges and is determined to convert me (I am definitely more a haphazard, wonky edges kind of gardener. Remember the wooden edging?!) In an attempt to convince me, Dan straightened the edge of Louis’s bed. I have to admit it did look good and when the path is covered in grass the straight edge will look even better.
The next job was to install the squash ladder – I’ve been looking forward to this! The first step (see what I did there?!) was to rake the squash bed and, in doing so flatten out the path to the side of the bed using the raked soil to fill in the dips (this will make the path less of a trip hazard when it’s my only access to the pumpkins) I then had to dig 4 holes to stand the ladder legs in. I placed flat bricks in the bottom of each hole to stop the ladder sinking. This did not work – I don’t think I dug the holes deep enough and I had to dig it all up and start again. Obviously I have various pieces of wood kicking about my site (of course I do!) and Dan suggested two of these would work well as supports. Dan helped me dig two trenches, one either side of the bed which we dropped the wooden supports in to, stood the ladder on the supports and piled enough soil around to cover the supports and the bottom of the ladder legs. I planted the two squash plants under the ladder and the two pumpkin plants at the back of the bed (I really hope this will allow them enough space) Overall I’m really pleased with how it all turned out and I can’t wait to see squashes sitting on the treads of the ladder.
I showed Dan the plan I’d made for my plot, which I have, so far stuck to. He suggested I add cucumbers to it. This was a pretty good suggestion as we eat loads of cucumbers but I hadn’t put them on my plan as they look complicated to grow. They have to grow up something so the cucumbers can hang. Dan had the answer! There’s been this weird piece of wood kicking about my plot from when I first took on the allotment (of course there has!) The last plot holder used it to sieve the soil (a couple of plot holders have told me this so, weird as it sounds I don’t think they’re having me on, I think it really was a soil sieve!) It’s 4 pieces of wood fixed together to create a frame with chicken wire stretched across it. Dan reckons it will work to grow cucumbers up so between us we positioned it on what was going to be the pepper bed (the peppers will have to go somewhere else) and I planted the cucamelon plant which Michelle gave me, at its base. I’ll pick up a cucumber plant tomorrow when I buy the grass seed.
I harvested my first strawberries and laid some more straw out under them.
Rhubi’s looking very well. I gave her some feed today in the hope her stalks will grow a bit fatter as they’re all still looking a bit spindly.
Here’s how I left the plot. I am so pleased with the transformation this week! It really is starting to look like the plot I want.
The plan for next week is to buy grass seed and a cucumber plant, try to work out where the hell I’m going to fit the peppers in and plant the spring onions, leeks and sunflowers.