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Progress on the Plot

Sheet Composting

Sheet Composting – sheep manure on top of cardboard to start

Well the weather has been up and down which hasn’t made things easy. Yesterday, however, was magnificent. A vintage day. It was chilly but bright sunshine with hard blue skies.

It was hard to believe the forecast for rain and storms coming in from the western sea, until the evening when some wispy but black clouds drifted in. Then a massive black bank of heavy low cloud rolled in from the south, like something from the film Close Encounters. You could almost believe a giant spaceship was inside.. play the five tones.

Progress on the plot

Made quite a bit of progress over the last week or so. Most of the un-dug half of the plot has been covered with cardboard and then a fairly thick layer of aged sheep manure mixed with straw from my neighbour’s lambing shed, then a casing of spent compost from last year, fresh compost and soil.

The plan is, when the weather improves, to plant potatoes in most if not all of the un-dug half. They’ll go in shallow, about 4 in, 10 cm deep and be covered with a layer of straw about 6 in, 15 cm deep. By the time the haulm starts to show I should be mowing the grass regularly and the clippings can go on top to mulch along with some cut comfrey.

Compost

Whilst I’m sort of on the subject of compost, I emptied my Hotbin composter which was full. Another 3 barrow loads of excellent compost. It really is the best and easiest to use composter I’ve ever come across.

Not so much for garden waste although it copes with it as for the kitchen waste and perennial weeds. The only thing you need to keep an eye on is the green brown balance and avoiding too much liquid.

I take out the kitchen waste caddy and add shredded paper to add ‘brown’ along with torn up plain cardboard and sawdust when I’ve been sawing up wood. If we’ve a lot of acid materials, like citrus peel, then a little garden lime to balance is dusted on.

Pretty soon it heats up but if it doesn’t I usually find mixing it up and possibly adding a little nitrogen as sulphate of ammonia will start the bacterial bonfire. Most of the time though, it’s just bung in the waste caddy with some shredded paper and close the lid.
I reckon our councils could do worse than give Hotbins away to people. The cost would come down with a big volume buy and the council would save money on waste collection whilst improving the environment.

Other Jobs

The privet and hawthorn hedges got trimmed, it seems hard to credit they were about 20 feet, 6 metres high when we came and got chain sawed down. The fence posts to the sides of the path where the gate were loose and so I’ve concreted one in and put a new post in on the other side. Just a new gate to construct now.

Poultry Area

The new poultry area has been rotavated again, raked over and had a light application of Growmore. After the next lot of rain has washed that in, I’ll be sowing the poultry pasture mix ready for the birds in a month or so.

Blackcurrants

Jostaberry

Jostaberry coming into leaf already

The Jostaberry and blackcurrant bushes also got a an application of Growmore. They grow so quickly that they’re hungry plants and need feeding to give of their best. Val tidied the big freezer and found some bags of frozen blackcurrants.

The first bag has been converted into 14 lbs of blackcurrant jam. She’s buying a couple of bottles of vodka to convert the second bag to blackcurrant liquor for Christmas. The remaining currants could become cheesecake topping, cordial or blackcurrant jelly. My vote is for the cheesecake.

The Polytunnel

Back up in the Polytunnel the potatoes are just starting to show above ground. I’m a little worried about the carrots though, not much sign of them yet. Early days though.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary

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