Thursday, 9 April 2009

The Earth Moved

The man above me at the allotment has his own rotivator and very kindly agreed to rotivate all the unplanted earth on our patch. We have been methodically digging the plot throughout the winter to try and break up the big clods of earth a bit. When most of that had been done (apart from a patch of grass on the newly acquired bit) it was ready to be rotivated.

When we took over the plot we were adamant that we would not rotivate as it would slice existing weeds into many parts and thus they would be greatly multiplied. However, as the weeds are an on-going problem and will never go away, we decided that it would be a good idea to rotivate once and get the ground broken up nicely into a more crumbly mixture instead of great heavy clods.

Before it was rotivated I spread lots of barrow-loads of compost and manure onto the surface so that it would be incorporated into the earth as it was turned.

Now the greater part of the plot has been rotivated and it looked so different that I almost didn't recognise it and walked past it! When digging my fork goes in as easily as a knife through butter to a depth of about 8-10" .

My first job after the ground was rotivated was to move the existing strawberry plants (apparantly they like to be moved every 3 years) to a different part of the plot. Within half an hour 11 plants (I used to have 8) were dug up and re-planted with not all that much effort. I noticed that one of them was already in flower with a little bump in the middle.

Regarding the weeds, it was easy to pull out the chopped up roots as the earth was falling off them. I can't wait to do more planting, as for me it's so satisfying to plant seeds, or plants that I have started off at home as seeds and then potted on, knowing that in due course they will grow and be harvested. The miracle of growth never ceases to amaze me and raise my spirits.

Now, what shall I plant next?

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

From Loch Ness to Chester

When I bought the Bramley apple tree last September it came with two 2-year old blackberry bushes called "Loch Ness" and "Chester". They have been growing very happily in their pots over the winter, but now that spring has arrived they have started to sprout, so they need to be planted.

At the top of the new part of the allotment we have constructed a fruit support in an "L-shape". It is made up of 4 metal poles with 3 rows of wire between each pole for the blackberries to climb up.

I dug 2 big holes and partly filled them with compost and then placed a blackberry bush into each hole. I then back-filled with a mixture of earth and compost and then gave the bushes a thorough watering. They look very happy in their new position and it certainly gives some permanent structure to the top of the plot. As blackberries are one of my favourite fruits I am hoping that we will at least get some this year to team up with the other fruit that has already been planted. I still have some redcurrant bushes to plant, but will leave that for another day.