Tag Archives: raised beds

Spring Glow

Are we nearly there yet?

‘Depending upon which definition you use, there are actually two different dates that the mark the first day of spring.’

1 March 2018 is the first day of the meteorological spring

20 March 2018 is the first day of the astronomical spring

The skies are still mostly grey and dismal, the temperature outside is still cold but spring is officially here!

However, it’s a joy to see my garden and allotment begin to wake up after winter. The spring bulbs and fruit trees are blossoming…that ‘Spring glow’ is everywhere.

The daffodils are looking stunning!20180414_1228521478062419.jpg

The willow is sprouting nicely.

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The rhubarb has already contributed to a delicious apple and rhubarb crumble.

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The perennial Kale tastes delicious and continues to add a ‘punch’ to dinner.

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The broad beans and garlic are growing nicely too!

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Spring is the busiest time on the allotment and in the garden, so I’m trying my best, despite the weather, to get on with the jobs but I’m still behind in my planting!

The potatoes are still chitting, a second batch of broad beans have just sprouted along with a sowing of ‘Moonlight’ runner beans.

I’ve managed to plant three ‘Gardeners Delight’ tomato plants in the new greenhouse raised bed. Fingers crossed they’ll be ok – no luxury heating in my greenhouse :-/

Tomato plants are looking strong…doing my bit for recycling too by using old labels found in my seed box!

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Some of my favourites in the garden at the moment are Honeyberry flowers, Cowslips, Hidcote Pink comfrey, Night Scented Phlox, Anacylus and the gorgeous blue Lithodora (Heavenly Blue)

 

Hopefully you’re enjoying the ‘spring glow’ and managing to potter on with the planting, despite the gloomy skies πŸ™‚

 

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Hoping for Magic from the Muck…

Last Saturday, the sun was out (for a change) and it was a perfect day for beating the winter blues on my plots! Winter is a tough time of year for us gardeners. We want to get out and enjoy all the benefits that gardening brings but the winter weather only permits the odd day of preparation for the growing season.

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Asparagus raised bed and plot 5a.

Preparation is the name of the game on the plots at the moment…ripping up persistent perennial weeds, covering with plastic and mulching. I haven’t dug any of the plots yet. I’m planning not to dig at all to be honest. A foot injury last year prompted me to look into labour saving gardening methods and two of my blog readers pointed me in the direction of Charles Dowding’s books. Now I’m hooked, for two reasons:-

1) Clearly ‘No Dig’ saves time and effort.

2) ‘No Dig’ is better for the plots allowing the soil to develop a good base ideal for planting.

I’m beginning my second year of trialling this method, mimicking nature by building fertility from the top, without damaging the beneficial fungi and soil life underneath (I’m applying the same method to my six 4″x4″ and four mini metal raised beds). Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against digging! If a patch needs a good dig over then I’ll do it but I’d rather not πŸ˜€ Mulches include, cardboard, wood chips, compost and manure. Usually I buy the odd bag of aged manure for the plots however for the first time, I’m applying a thick mulch of manure.

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Plot 4a…beginning to mulch!

I’ve had a plot on my allotment site since January 2015 but I kept missing the ‘Who wants manure?’ question asked of key ‘plotters’. This year I was asked. A landmark event for sure…now I’m considered a ‘real’ allotmenteer!

I have my very own heap of poop!

It’s back breaking work – the only way to shift a ton of ‘poop’ is by wheelbarrow and I’ve found that I can manage to fill and unload eight barrows around the plot before I begin to ache. I’m slow but steady. I’ll finish…eventually!

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Herb bed and worm tube.

No Dig. Is it that simple?

My recent injury has left me thinking more seriously about my ‘allotmenteering’ methods.  So far I have stuck to traditional methods and dug my one and a half plots completely by hand, from front to back.  Admittedly, it does take its toll on me physically!

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I dig mainly to control weeds and to restore the soil structure (after trampling) but after several ‘injury months’ away the weeds have already started to grow back!  Very disheartening to say the least 😦

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The raised beds have resisted the weeds much better and are still producing some lovely veggies!

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The Kale is also looking lush…

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Obviously all gardeners dip their toes into the no-dig regime, out of necessity – weeding by hand, shallow hoeing and mulching however there has to be much more to the method!

I may not be able to dig much of the plots this season so  I need some no-dig guidance. I’ve tried searching the web but there’s way too much to sift through!  Can anyone suggest a few no-nonsense sites?  I’d also love a good quality book on the subject…what would you recommend?

 

 

The Glory of the Allotment

‘You will find the tool- and potting-sheds which are the heart of all ;
The cold-frames and the hot-houses, the dungpits and the tanks:
The rollers, carts and drain-pipes, with the barrows and the planks.’

Joy of joys, I’ve finally had a sunny day, on a free weekend so I decided to make the most of every minute by working on the raised bed section of the plots, filling in the bean trench and doing a little digging.

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My plots are on the side of a mountain in Wales. As you can imagine it can be pretty windy so I’m trying to prevent bark chippings from blowing across the whole allotment site with log rolls bought at a bargain price of Β£3:00 each!
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I’ve used 30cm tent sand pegs to secure the log rolls.

 

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Attempting to warm the ground within the raised beds with my new cloches.