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The Allotment - Week 2 - 13 April 2020

Well, this is late… I had good intentions of writing this entry on Sunday but then ended up losing track of time at the allotment. Week 2 was also the last week at my job with the Arts and Humanities Research Council, a lot of time in the day was spent on the computer trying to wrap up projects. By the time evening came I needed time off from staring at a screen! Anyway, that’s it, apology over, let's get back to why we are all here.

Monday I ended up having the day off, it was the last day of the long bank holiday weekend. It had been one of the most productive weekends I've had in lockdown so I felt I deserved a day with the PlayStation.

Tuesday my order of beds from B&Q was delivered, I have to say when they arrived I was pretty surprised by the quality, and they were much larger than I was expecting. I ordered 8 of the verve large and 2 of the verve small.

I also ordered some compost for the seeds, but then found the compost I ordered from B&Q was not peat-free. If I need to buy compost next year I’ll be researching an alternative. Not sure why peat is a problem? Have a read here.

On Thursday my additional mix of Top Soil and Compost for the beds was delivered. They came with a crane which was perfect for my plot. I have plots either side and to the back of mine, the front is blocked off with an apple tree, a pear tree, and a shed. Originally I had chosen to get my soil from a local family run garden center, I had struggled to get hold of them on the phone for a few days and called another. Crapper and Sons were able to deliver, and quickly too! They were unable to let me know the date of delivery beforehand but ensured me it would be before the end of the week. (It came 2 days later) Crapper and Sons are a waste and recycling center based just outside of Swindon. The compost and soil are generated from the materials brought into their site. I might get wood chips later on, If I do, I will definitely be calling these guys.

Once the soil was delivered I could get on to making the beds. The kits are put together with a pin system which makes them incredibly easy and quick to put together. I completed the first 4 beds by myself, and although some are quite large and cumbersome it was not too awkward putting them into place on my own. This was when I realised I did not have a spade. When I took over the plot It came with a fully equipped shed so I inherited a lot of the tools I have. In fact, to this day I have not bought a tool yet. Convinced I had a spade, I later remembered I had borrowed one from my Dad to do some jobs in the garden but then he took it back. I did, however, have a large plastic pot and a shovel. It took somewhere between 6-18 pots full of soil to fill each single-tiered bed, I started counting but soon lost track.

Friday and Saturday rained. I stayed at home. I’m a fair-weather allotment-er.

Sunday evening I was joined at the allotment by my partner, we pulled up the rubber tarp I had laid down since last year. It did its job, all the weeds and couch grass underneath are no more. He dug the remainder of the couch grass to the left of the plot whilst I continued with more beds.

The grass under the pear tree was a bit wild, so that had a trim with the electronic strimmer. The battery ran out before the job was finished so I'll come back to this another day.

The tree is a dwarf pear tree but gives the most amazing yield. Last year I had more pears than I could manage so I told the neighboring plots they could help themselves. This year I've started a list of recipes for preserving pears, I’ll be jar-ing, jamming, and buttering. I’m sure I’ll still be giving a few away, swapping some for beetroots or sweetcorn. Once the grass is under control I’m going to turn this spot into our reading/picnic area for the summer.

Back to building more beds and sowing more seeds.

New to the sowing party:

2 different types of tomatoes (I’m late on these, so fingers crossed we have a long summer)



New to the sprouting party:

Morning Glory





Sweet Pea

Pea Douce Provence


Borlotti Runner Bean

Dwarf Bean

Not seen anything of the passionflower yet but after reading online it does say they can take up to 4 weeks to germinate… Some seeds can take up to 48 weeks!? Let’s hope I don’t have that type…

I felt like I had a pretty hands-off week last week, but looking at the list and the photos, we achieved a lot!

Plan for next week:

  • Build the final 4 beds (3 large, 1 small)

  • Plant seeds straight to beds

  • Finish tidying the front of the plot

I’m writing this on Saturday of week three, so I already know I had an email from Thompson and Morgan to say some seeds I ordered a few weeks back had been dispatched. They arrived mid-week so I’ll let you know how I got on with them.

I can also promise next weeks blog won’t be late, I've already started writing it!

One last thing, the apple tree is now in blossom.

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