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Raised Beds, Planting Shallots

Back down to the plot in the afternoon to continue the good fight. One year I’ll manage to get everything done on time rather than spend the season trying to catch up!

Jim Rotovating his Plot

Jim Rotovating his Plot

Jim was rotovating his plot when I arrived. He’s one of those growers who just does it by the book and gets the results. A modest chap, he says he’s not particularly green fingered but he likes a tidy plot. I know I’d be proud to have a plot as neat as his is.

Finished off tidying the paths on plot 29. The rotted wood chippings and weeds were just skimmed off and dumped onto the compost heap followed by a new layer of chippings. It looks so much better when the paths look tidy at least.

The chippings have nearly gone now, maybe one wheelbarrow load left. Hopefully there will be another delivery or two yet. They’re so useful.

There was a couple on one plot measuring up to convert a well dug plot into raised beds. They’ve apparently got a lot of slabs so intend to use them for the paths between the beds. I must admit I’ve my doubts about raised beds. There are situations where they are useful but on plots with good soil I think they’re just a waste of space and effort.

I spent an idle ten minutes looking at some plots and I reckon nearly half of the available space is taken up with paths, seating areas, pergolas etc. The old timers seemed to manage without all that. They just filled the plot with crops!

Well I inherited raised beds on plot 29, even if they’re the wrong sizes to be convenient. They’re starting to collapse now, the corner posts are rotting as are some of the boards so next year I think the plot will need re-organising. At least the paths will dig in easily.

My next job was to plant my shallots out. These can go in at anytime really from late December but the weather has hardly been suitable. I know they’re pretty hardy, but often a later planting avoids the heavy losses bad weather can cause.

I like to give my shallots plenty of room to develop so they went in at 8″ spacing in rows 1′ apart. I could probably get away with 8″ both ways but I’m not short of space so why not allow them a goodly amount of room.

The biggest problem I have with shallots is the dratted pigeons. They wait until the shallots start to shoot and then pull them up. I reckon they think the shoot looks tasty, pull it up and then discover they don’t like onions. So then they try the next one and so forth. Maybe they’re just malicious flying rats!

So, more for the pigeons than anything, I covered them with fleece. I normally weigh down the fleece with milk containers filled with water but my stockpile of them hasn’t survived the freezing winter so it was back to those plastic stakes and a board weighted down with a couple of bricks to hold the surplus in place in case of strong winds.

Lots more to do, but it’s starting to take shape again. I should be caught up by next year!

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary
3 comments on “Raised Beds, Planting Shallots
  1. gee says:

    I use all the old CD/DVD tied to some string to scare the pigeons.

  2. wellrooted says:

    Pigeons causing headaches for me too this year. They even pulled up some Garlic this week!

  3. carla vella says:

    re: “nearly half of the available space is taken up with paths, seating areas, pergolas etc. The old timers seemed to manage without all that. They just filled the plot with crops!” That’s very good but I work very long hours and find it very hard to put in as many hours as the others on site. Also, I inherited a dumping ground, covered in rubble, bricks, slabs, carpets, cans, concrete heaps, etc… and giant weeds & mare’s tail. All of which took me a whole year to clean up. And now it’s the mare’s tail again. So having “narrow” paths made of chippings, just enough to walk through, helps me not to feel like giving up on my plot. The tidy look encourages me to keep going and, I guess, it compartmentalises what I need to do next! and yes, much space is taken by a small shed and small greenhouse + a pleasant seating area in between. After all, I got my plot to keep fit and enjoy tranquility and not to compete with other allotmenteers about how much to squeeze into the plot. Also, I am contributing to keeping that part of the district clean and free from rat infestation… if it were not for plotkeepers, what would the council do to protect residents from what would inevitably become a dumping ground, a huge dumping ground? I am proud of my little paths and social space at my allotment. Regards, Carla

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