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The Raised Deep Bed

On Thursday I managed to misread the simple instructions on the weed killer and spray the paths at one fifth of the recommended strength so Friday started by re-spraying at the correct strength.

Next the Merry Tiller was given an outing and I ran over the patch I’d dug over yesterday to break up the large clods. I went back and forth until the soil was broken down so that I could get it level before the bed went on. I reckon it’s more work rotovating a small patch than a larger one. When you run over a large patch you only have to haul it around at the end of the run but on a small patch you seem to do nothing but drag it around and back..

Having rotovated the soil being fluffy seems to be a lot higher than before and on thinking about it I realised that the plot sloping down towards the bottom and sloping a bit from side to side was complicating things. Back home to think about it before constructing on Saturday.

Arriving at the allotment on Saturday, Gianni was on his plot so I asked him to give me hand to move the decking I’d got skip-diving six weeks ago. How time does fly. It had mysteriously moved from where Larry and I had left it to Tony H’s plot so I figured it was best getting moved to where it should be.

It didn’t take long to clear the work area by the shed and hump the decking down a path to the plot. Popped everything back and then spent a while recovering. Since Tony H had managed to move the decking on his own and it had nearly killed me moving it with help, I decided to remonstrate very gently with him rather than jump up and down!

Then it was back to the raised deep bed. I’d cut all the wood and creosoted it ready but the slope means a re-plan. I’ve got some different planks I was going to use on plot 29 and so decided to make one side double depth and use the other planks for the upslope side.

Made a good start before light stopped play, got the ends done and made a start on the downslope side.

Sunday I was determined to get the darn thing finished and I did. Now, instead of the slope down there’s a step so if we have another super wet year the bed should drain rather than drowning the plants.

Since the rotovating has left the soil fluffy, maybe not the best word to describe soil but accurate all the same, I know it will sink down. So I piled compost onto the bed about six inches higher than the sides. It only took about 10 barrow loads, which surprised me as I was expecting to use more on there.

Now I’ve got the bed finished I’ll get the rest of the compost moved, some onto plot 29 for the raised beds on there and to top up the greenhouse borders. Since the carrots in the half barrel were so successful I’m going to cut the full barrel without a bottom in half and set them up as well with compost for next year’s carrots.

The remaining compost will go on plot 5 where the potatoes were and up at the top where the brassicas were.

I noticed the Brussels sprouts are developing nicely although I suspect the timing is off and they’ll be ready well before Christmas. Having learned how to cook them properly, sorry Mum you don’t cut a cross in them and boil for six days, plus the own grown flavour boost we’ll be eating them as soon as they are ready.

Val came down to the plot on Sunday as well for a bit. She just did a bit of harvesting picking a whole carrier bag of Buerre de Rocquencourt French beans as well as a few runner beans, some sweet and chilli peppers, a couple of marrows (OK, overgrown courgettes) and some calabrese. I must admit I’d let my second sowing of calabrese go to flower. You really need to keep an eye on calabrese and broccoli, pick when ready for it will not last.

She also decided it was time to harvest some of the cabbages before the slugs get to eat them all up. A couple of greyhound and the rest were red cabbage, I forget the variety for now but they look acceptable.

Finished the day on the plot sitting on my bench on top of the decking for ten minutes. I feel rather like royalty sitting on there, just six inches higher but still higher. Fine weather promised for tomorrow so some more photographs to take. They’re predicting heavy rain on Tuesday followed by more fine weather. It’s unseasonably nice and warm now but I hope we’ll get a proper winter to kill the bugs and stop the weeds growing followed by a scorcher of a summer next year instead of a monsoon season.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary

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