Changing Plans

Sometimes you have to swallow your pride, admit your plans are wrong and change them.

When we moved here, we roughly planned how we’d use the land. The field to the left of the house would hold as big a veg plot as anyone could need. To the right of the house, a little decorative garden and then an area for soft fruit. Finally there was a small walled garden with some apple trees which would be perfect to run hens under.

After two years I’m changing things around. The vegetable plot is terribly windswept and we get plenty of wind on this hillside to keep the rain company. Now the wind doesn’t bother some crops too much but, as an example, the sweetcorn didn’t have a chance. Some of the plants were literally blown out of the ground!

My feeling for area isn’t very good. The ‘small’ walled garden actually turns out to have more space than my old allotment plot. We spent a few hours measuring up and then I got out my trusty scale rule and pencil to produce some plans. It was an eye opener.

200 square metres for half a dozen hens is a bit of overkill, especially when you start to cost fox-proof fencing. So, sorry hens, you’re moving to a fenced off area nearer to the house at the top of the soft fruit section.

This area itself is a bit tricky, there’s a flat piece of land at the top and then it steeply slopes downwards. So I’m thinking of a retaining wall and increasing the flat area and putting in some steps up to it.

The walled garden didn’t feel big, mainly because it was almost a cave with a 30 foot high privet hedge, 15 foot hawthorns at the end and an ash tree. These were reduced to 4 foot hedges. Most of the ash was logged and taken to the wood store but all the brushwood was just piled up.

Now this hasn’t been the best of gardening years, so what few dry days we had were spent on the veg plot. This didn’t stop the grass growing in the walled garden though. It’s grown up and through the piles of brushwood so tying them onto the ground.

So, having dealt with the hawthorn trimmings on the veg plot earlier in the year, I’m back at bonfires again. This side is worse though as I’m trying to pull the wood out from the tangled grass.

There is a small problem in that I’ve not got the stamina I had 30 years ago and after days of this slog find myself waking up in the body of a centenarian until the ibuprofen kicks in! So, having watched the Wartime Farm on the telly I decided I either needed some Land Girls or German POWs.

Sadly no German POWs to be had and the Women’s Land Army disbanded. Curses! Then a cunning plan came to mind.. I know where I can get some girls to deal with the overgrown grass at least.

After a beautiful Sunday; sunny, calm and warm, about two thirds of the brushwood has been converted into useful potash and a gap into the walled garden made through the woodpiles.

I sat quietly on the tree stump keeping my eye on the bonfire as it started to die down when I became aware of something in the corner of my eye. There were half a dozen ewes enjoying the bonanza of long grass, happily munching away. At least one of my plans has worked. Sheep, the land girls of Fron Dirion

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary

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