Monday, 9 April 2007

My Patch, Your Patch

Today we went to the allotment for a couple of hours - it's amazing how the time seems to just fly by as the digging progresses, plans to plant what where, new people to meet and chat to, and of course the odd few minutes to sit down with some water and take stock of the progress made.

All the people we've met on the site who stop for a chat are really friendly and are very encouraging to us. They love to see us as a family all working together, each doing our bit. We've been given lots of friendly advice too and it's interesting to find out what they are growing and how successful they have been. It's a very relaxed atmosphere and no-one really seems to rush.

The children have now got their own mini plots of about half a square metre each and they are both working hard watering, digging and "mashing up" the ground. They have collected lots of stones from around the plot so that they can make a nice edging when they have finished digging.

Today we planted 5 rows of onions red baron (about 50 onions in all). They have all rooted nicely and we planted them in rows about 12" apart with about 4" between each onion set. Each one is nicely bedded in some home made compost with just the tip sticking out. We're now hoping that they are rooted enough to discourage the birds from pecking them out of the ground.

Now it's time to start rooting the white onions so that we can plant them in the next fortnight or so.

Sunday, 8 April 2007

Dig, Dig, Plant

Since I last posted a blog we have been methodically digging the plot so that we can begin planting. The middle of the plot seems to have huge amounts of bindweed roots that we are digging out so that the vegetables that we grow do not compete with them. The edges of the plot do not have so many roots and it is always very satisfying to find the tapered end of a root and to think that "another one bites the dust". Although it is hard work and it would be quicker and easier to rotivate the ground, in the long run it will be well worth it.

With the hot, sunny weather that we've been having just recently, we are wetting a small patch of earth, let the water sink in and then dig that particular bit. It's very encouraging when we come to dig over that patch of earth again a day or so later to find that the earth underneath has retained that water and it hasn't all drained away.

We have also tested the soil with a really good soil testing kit that is very easy to use. We are very fortunate in that our soil has a pH of 7.0 (neutral) so hopefully we do not have to be too choosy about what we grow.

To date we have planted 6 rows of "Sante" potatoes and 2 rows of "Charlotte" potatoes. They have chitted really well and it was fun to plant them in their trenches. The children enjoyed spacing them out and counting how many potatoes were in each row (about 9 if you're interested).

So for now, it's back to some more digging.