Tuesday, 20 March 2007

Dig, Dig, Digging

Between us we have now made 3 trips to the allotment and have almost finished digging the first rectangular strip ready for planting. The earth where the cabbages were was easy to dig, but as we have now gone well past where they were, the earth is harder to dig as it has become a bit compacted and with the glorious weather we had last week there is a very dry crust that we have to dig through. We have also hit a big patch of bindweed roots, so this has slowed our progress a bit. We are being careful to get out all the bits of roots that we can so that in years to come they will not be so prevalent.

Although the digging is getting harder and the progress has slowed down a bit, there is something very satisfying about looking back over what has been dug, and there is a real sense of excitement that as soon as the first strip has been completely dug, the potatoes will go in, followed by the onions.
I picked up a tip from one of the allotment holders about onions - plant them on a shallow bed of compost so that they grow small roots before planting them out in the plot. That way the birds are not able to peck them out of the ground so easily before the top growth starts.
We have also assembled the compost bin and it is already half full of vegetable matter and some grass. When the children come down to the allotment next week I'm sure they will enjoy adding screwed up newspaper and cardboard to the ever-increasing pile.
The sweet peas that I plan to plant up the sides are growing nicely in the greenhouse and are almost ready for pinching out as they are about 6 inches high.

Monday, 5 March 2007

Starting Digging

Today we started to dig out the clumps of cabbages that were left on the plot. It took about 2 hours and some of the roots were at least 2 ft long. Even though it was quite hard work, there was a great sense of satisfaction that at last we had begun to cultivate our plot. When we had finished pulling up all the cabbages we were left with a fairly nicely dug patch of earth that was teeming with worms, and hopefully after another thorough dig in the next week or two, we will be able to plant the potatoes that are happily sprouting in the greenhouse. After the cabbages were all dug up, we cut them up (leaves, stalks, roots and all) into fairly small pieces and started off our compost heap with them. The weather was kind to us and as we were working, the sun was blazing down on us and we both realised that the name chosen of "sunshine allotment" was very apt. So ended our first day.