Saturday, 7 March 2009

Another week has passed since my last blog entry, and the slow but steady progress continues at The Bresnen Plot. In the week I began work on laying out where the raised beds are going to go with string and stakes. As I was working some of the old hands stopped by to give me tips and advice, and as a consequence I ended up changing my design as I was going along. More than once; That said, the benefit of their experience was welcome, and the allotment is slowly taking shape.
As the soil is quite waterlogged I decided to dig a couple of drainage ditches down either sided of the plot, and across the top to take away the run off from the road. Most of the other allotmenters think this is a sound idea, and worth the effort, and we can always use the soil we dig out of the ditch to top up our raised beds.
I spoke to Christine, the lady who has the plot below mine on the slope, and she agreed that the idea of added drainage was good, but then it occurred to me that the nice new raised bed she has just built for her asparagus could end up getting washed away by the run off from my plot. I suggested that she could always plant rice instead, but she didn't seem taken by the idea of a paddy field allotment. We decided that the best bet for both of us is to dig two deep holes at the bottom of my drainage ditch and to fill them with gravel to act as drain-away. Now that I am committed to the idea of only using reclaimed or recycled materials in our plot I have to find some where that sells some suitable rubble or waste material for me to use.

On the topic of recycling, I now find myself peering into skips in the hope of finding a pallet or timber to use on our plot. My wife thinks I am very strange. I have not had much luck so far. We did find one at the back of an old building, but I couldn't fit it in the car because the kids were in the way. I did consider leaving Charlie behind, but Corinne gave me 'The Look', and so I dropped the idea. Shame though.

Work continues this week on the seeds in the propagator. Truth be told, I don't think the windowsill is light enough, but I haven't got much choice. The seeds that have come up have a tendency towards legginess. I have put them out in the garden to catch a few rays on the warm days we have had this week. I have pricked out some of my cabbages, but some others I have left a bit too late, and so I have just thinned these out a bit. Hopefully the next batch I sow I will be able to catch before they run wild.

This morning I went down to our local garden center to get some toy tools and gardening gloves for Eleanor to use down the allotment, in the hope of engaging her in the idea of gardening. Below is a rare picture of Eleanor helping with the weeding. After this was taken she told me it was too cold, and she wanted to go home. She spent the rest of the time playing in the car. Well it's a start.

Today's task was to make a start double digging the ground where the raised beds are going to sit. Blimey that is hard work. We made some progress, but there is lots more to do because the ground is very impacted, and has a heavy, clay consistency. It's going to need lots of good organic stuff adding to it to improve it's consistency. It's good to get the spade in the soil though. It feels like a real step forwards.

It was nice to get down to the allotment as a family, even if only for a short time. Although Eleanor still thinks the whole thing is a bit pointless, Charlie remains very enthusiastic, if not actually that helpful. Even Corinne managed to get her new spade Christened by helping to double dig one of the beds.

Corinne looking windswept and interesting.

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