The perk after mowing the grass

Midday on Sunday, the 16th of September 2018. I took a short trip to the allotment to mow the boarder grass around the whole plot.

This didn’t really take very long, but there were three or four people there I have not seen for quite a while so I spoke to them for 10 minutes each. Finally I got around to doing the border — that took about 20 minutes.

On the way out of the allotment I stopped by the apple tree at the main gate. Lots of apples are falling on the floor now and even more are weighing down the branches. I picked a few that looked ready to drop, and they came off in my hand. A perk for doing the grass.

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Putting down the second sheeting

Today is Sunday, the 9th of September, and I was at the allotment by 8:45 AM. Now 2 1/2 hours later, I have finished putting the second sheeting down and made a start on the other half of the allotment.

The second half of the allotment was only partly covered. Some weeds and potatoes had grown down at the far end of the plot. So it took some time to clear this area (marginally) before covering it with another 5 x 5 m sheet of weed suppressant material.

I will need to buy a new piece of weed suppressant material because one of the pieces was not suitable for the allotment. One sheet of weed suppressant material was waterproof and would not allow the soil to breathe. I expect this would kill the soil over time, so although I have placed that sheet down at the far end of the plot I will not keep it for more than a week (if I can help it).

Taking a picture of all four corners of the allotment, shows that two sides are nice and straight and clear and covered. Opposite side of the allotment is not quite so neat and although I have put down suppressant sheeting the edges nowhere near as clean underneath. This half of the plot will take a fair amount of time to get finished.

Five by five (25 m²) covered

Tonight at about 7:30 PM I made a quick trip to the allotment. The aim was to dig over the newly edged part and clear of the last bits of weeds before the weed suppressant covering was laid down.

I have been very careful when measuring the border in order to make it exactly 5 m wide. This would allow me to lay down the 5 x 5 square sheeting. It looks as though my calculations have been accurate.

Interestingly it took me exactly 1 hour to dig over that 25m² patch (the 5m x 5m area). I used a fork and dug it to one spade deep; it was very easy going and there were only a few weeds. So by that measurement for the dig, it gives me a lower limit on the time it takes to clear about one third of the area at the allotment.

Half of the allotment boarder finished!

At last! I have just finished the border: around half of the allotment. Today is Monday 27th of August 2018, a bank holiday. This morning I spent four hours down at the allotment finishing off the last two boards to make half of the plot edge neat and tidy.

This has been quite a major undertaking. It has taken significantly longer than I first anticipated. I underestimated the effort needed to make straight edges and hammer in stakes for instance. I had also neglected the allotment edges and they had grown a large influx of grass which meant it had to be cleared before I could put any boards in.

But, it has been worth it and I will benefit in the long run because it will be easier to manage than higgledy-piggledy border edges that need attending every time I visit.

The next job will be to sort out the grassy parts around the border. They need to be made flatter and tight up against the boards. The path shown in the picture on the left hand side of the allotment needs raising to match the height of the boards. Muck shifting is my next big job.

Digging through the brick layer

Today’s trip to the allotment. It is Sunday 19th of August. I was up fairly early this morning, and after packing the car with the equipment needed to complete more of the border with wooden boards, I managed to get to the allotment by 9 AM.

I only took one piece of wood for the border. My intention was to extend the end of the allotment border to be exactly 5 m long and then take the replaced board and use it to start the third side.

As I hammered the stakes into the ground I suddenly realised that one side of the allotment was giving more resistance than the other sides. As I dug down it became obvious I’d hit an old path. All of the stakes were dented! The underground path ran in the same direction as the current allotment path but was about one and a half spades down. The top layer was a light slab and the underside was red brick. It ran the top length of my allotment plot and made hammering stakes impossible. I had to dig down individually for each stake in order to get any hold.

It was fairly tough going and for three stakes it took me an hour and a half to do.

The replaced piece of board, which was used for starting the third side of the allotment, was much easier and the stakes went in without any resistance. I finished clearing the grass and fitting that board in about 1 hour.

It looks as though the final two boards should be quite easy work and hopefully I will have finished half of the plot be next weekend. We will see.

A sack of potatoes — just one

It’s mid week. Tuesday evening, and the weather is okay I can see blue sky. Maybe there are a few dark clouds in the distance. But there is no rain.

It rained mostly on Sunday, and Monday. Which meant that the ground had been well soaked through for tonight’s digging expedition.

The aim for tonight’s hour of digging was to remove the potatoes that have been growing in the half of the plot that I am fixing the border in. With a view to clearing it completely. This would therefore make way for the third side of the border, quickly followed by moving the weed suppressant membrane to cover that area for the rest of the year.

With half of the plot covered I could then continue on the other half. Completing the same again, fixing the borders, clearing the weeds, and laying down more sheets of weed suppressant tarpaulin. I intend to use the tarpaulin in future on parts of the plot that I am not currently growing anything in. In that way I will be able to keep on top of the weeds, and keep the borders tidy.

That is the aim, and it is slowly coming together.

For my troubles tonight, and probably for the first time this year I am leaving the plot with a crop of Desiree potatoes (and a few handfuls of first early Charlotte type potatoes).

Keeping on top of the weeds

Today is Saturday 11th August 2018. I managed to get to the allotment early this morning I was here by 7 AM. I have spent just two hours clearing off the top surface of weeds.

The top half of the plot looks really clean. Except for one side which needs straightening and the boards along the edge need sorting out. That will be my next job, and after that side is done properly I will have completed half of the allotment.

I plan to make it exactly 5 m across. The existing weed suppressant sheeting that is currently covering the far end of the plot will then be able to be moved up to the beginning of the plot — The side that I have nearly finished. Then with that part covered I will be able to make a start on the other half of the plot.

That is the plan.

I did manage to give away some potatoes. There were a few plants that I grew from spuds that made it from last year. Those potatoes went to a neighbour. I will harvest the reminder for next time I am at the allotment.

Hopefully Sunday will be clear tomorrow, although I have heard that the weather will turn this afternoon and then clear up on Monday. We will have to see.