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Moving Compost & Raised Deep Beds on Plot 5

Moving Compost

The last couple of days (Thursday and Friday) have been mainly spent in moving the compost.

Larry had popped round and mentioned that one of the plotholders further up the path was having some sleepers delivered on Saturday and it would be easier for him if he could get the trailer up the path, so to work. I have to be nice to him as it’s his birthday. I must say he looks in good nick for someone of 96!

Unfortunately this means that I’m having to do some double handling. On plot 29 I want to move the strawberries into another bed and then spray the old bed because horsetail keeps popping up in there. Once the horsetail is gone I will top it up with compost.

So I barrowed up a dozen loads to the large bed by the deep bed ready for when I get round to it and the horsetail is gone. Another half dozen went by the big greenhouse where I’m thinking about a fruit cage.

I cleared a patch down towards the bottom of plot 5. There were a few docks so I dug them out, experience has shown that dumping compost on the top just makes the dock grow through with a huge root so I wanted it clean. Then all the rest of the compost was barrowed down.

Although on Thursday evening the chap with the sleeper delivery did stop by to tell me his delivery wasn’t coming until next weekend I was determined to clear it by Friday night and I did. It was really going dark when the last barrow load went but it’s job done.

If people insist on driving up to their plots and creating ruts in the path I don’t quite know what to do to fill them in as all the stone we had delivered to the site is used up. Perhaps nails and broken glass?

Raised Deep Beds

Back down on plot 5 I’ve decided it’s going to be worthwhile to put another couple of deep beds at the bottom end of the plot. I’m not 100% convinced that raised deep beds are the best thing for an allotment. They’re quite a lot of work to build initially not to mention expense if you can’t find the materials for free.

Secondly, you have to allow space around the bed to walk so a lot of space isn’t utilised. In fact you need to be twice as productive to justify them in terms of results.

Thirdly, not every vegetable is ideal for a deep bed. Sweetcorn, for example, needs to be planted in a block and spaced around 18″ apart. Potatoes need earthing up and I don’t think a raised bed is ideal for that.

Finally against raised beds is that they make it more difficult to rotate and alter. Your space is absolutely limited and you can’t just pop an extra row in if you wish as you run out of bed space.

Having covered that list of negatives, you may wonder why I’m going to put three onto plot 5.

Firstly that end of the plot is, despite my adding compost, manure, leafmould and double digging three times since I took the plot, wet and claggy. The raised beds will be above the water table in wet times and because they don’t get walked on the soil should remain more friable.

Secondly, the raised beds are easier to keep in good order. I know the benefits are more psychological than real but being able just to work a bed at a time with definite edges does make life easier.

Thirdly, raised beds can be closer planted using the right varieties and compensate for the space that is wasted on all those paths.

There are a few articles you might find interesting on the site about growing in raised beds and containers.:

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary

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