Lots of jobs, greenhouse review & rockdust

The weather has been surprisingly good for October in Snowdonia so far, yes some rain but also some of those wonderful autumn / winter days with a sharp blue sky and fluffy clouds looking as if you could touch them. Pretty cold though, especially in the breeze.

As we’ve got the builders about, replacing the drive and the cracked concrete in front of the house with a slate patio I took advantage and got them to move the shed for me that the wind blew out of position in the big storm that destroyed the first greenhouse.

It took about an hour to empty the shed of everything with a bit of weight, 10 minutes for 4 hefty blokes expertly guided by me to lever it back and another hour for me to get everything back in.

The builders are in favour of setting hooks into concrete and running straps over the roof to stop it moving in another storm but the chap I got the shed off reckons that’s a bad idea as it damages the roof.

So, my cunning plan is to bolt down through the floor and bearers to the concrete slabs. This should prevent side to side movements and hopefully hold it down if the wind attempts to lift it up. We probably won’t get any more 100mph winds for a while, unless I don’t put the bolts in – in that case 100mph winds are a dead cert!

The onion bed where I tried adding salt last year has been deeply rotavated with the Merry Tiller. That’s getting autumn sown broad beans (Aquadulce) this year so I intend to apply a good dose of wood ashes and some general purpose fertiliser just before sowing.

By ‘a good dose’ I mean a kilo per square metre or more. Wood ashes contain potash and broad beans like a lot of potash which prevents chocolate spot, one of the few diseases broad beans suffer from. It’s a bit problematic applying that amount of wood ashes though. The slightest breath of wind and they’re flying everywhere.

The second new raised bed is in and they’re both getting filled with a mixture of old turves, compost and sieved soil. In between the beds I’m laying grass cuttings over the grass and then a layer of bark peelings. This stops the grass growing up between the beds and eventually rots down to form a good layer of humus. I’m hoping we can move the beds in a couple of years having converted the whole area to good growing soil.

The greenhouse is winding down fast, most of the tomato plants are affected by downy mildew now. That’s because we’ve moved from the warm summery weather of September to a cool and very humid autumn. I’ve stripped some of the plants of fruit and removed them. On the remaining plants I’ve cut off a lot of the leaves just leaving the fruit to ripen.

New on the web site

On the wet days I’ve been scribbling again. I decided it was time I put up a formal review of the Vitavia greenhouse range (my greenhouse is a Vitavia) which you can find here: Vitavia Greenhouse Review

After my researches into Biochar, I decided to take a look at rockdust. As with biochar it was quite difficult to find objective and independent studies and analysis, but I did in the end. I was really hoping to find it was the miracle solution it’s advertised as but sadly I don’t think it is. Seer Rockdust Review

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary, New on Site

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