Allotment: Raised beds built and paths laid

This morning I awoke with aches in places where I didn’t know I had places, but thats a good thing because it reminds me of just how much I managed to get done on the allotment over the weekend  building out the raised beds, laying paths around them and topping up the donkey manure.

The first of the smaller ones currently has the leeks under cloches ready for the snow (which fell in a slight smattering last night).  The leeks were already in the bed, but I have now built a frame around the bed so that I can overfill it with manure once the leeks have grown and been lifted.  Later in the year I will grow broad beans in it which I am growing in clusters this year, rather than up trellises, a technique I have been shown by one of the elders on the allotments.

The second just has manure composting in it, and I will be using this to grow courgettes, and possibly attempt a pumpkin if I am feeling adventurous.

The third is the asparagus bed which I built last year.  I have raised it further from last year and smothered it with donkey manure.  I think  that this year I need to cover it with a much finer meshing in order to prevent stray seeds from populating it so much.

The fourth small bed is where I have planted my rhubarb.  This was just a matter of building the wooden frame around the edge of the bed, and I have now smothered it in donkey manure.  I split the roots on the rhubarb last year, so this year am hoping for a good crop.

The fifth, which is the largest by far has the last three cabbages from last year in it, but this year will be used to grow onions, beetroots, radishes and artichokes.  I have built the raised bed around the existing bed, and on one side it has the troughs where I will be growing sugar peas and garden peas.  The bed is the right length for the cloches, and also has the poles already measured and fitted for putting netting back over it later in the year.  Once  I have pulled the remaining cabbages I will need to put a good few barrows of manure on top to again improve the quality of the soil.

Last week I was given a spinach plant which I have put in the greenhouse along with the chard and the oninons and the celery.  I have also moved the herbs into the greenhouse.  Even in this weather the greenhouse is retaining its temperature at about 40 degrees overnight, thanks to the hot-bedding I did earlier in the year.  I have yet to hotbed the south side of the greenhouse so I will describe this process when I come to do that later in the month.

I then dug out the paths, laid fresh carpet and smothered them with wood chippings, which are basically pulped christmas trees.  There is a wider path, about 4.5′ where I have put the bins that I used for carrots and parsnips last year and when I get the tubs down from mams.

I am going to need to get hold of a lot more wood.

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