The Joys of Gardening

Plot 17 – The Earthly Comforts Garden

Recovering Plot 17
The Joys of Gardening
Plot 17’s Main Planting Layout

With all her layers on, Suze is hardly recognisable as she tips a commercial compost mix into Bed 5.
Raised Bed 5 going through the paces of having compost mixes and coffee grounds added to the top soil layer.

The Joys of Gardening

Suze and l were very lucky yesterday with the weather and the allotment. We were there from 11 in the morning to 3 in the afternoon, working on Stage 1 of the last main job of the year – soiling up the raised beds. All is going well; we will have Stage 2 completed next week.

Yesterday was a cold day, and it remained cold most of the time we were there. We were both wearing a lot of layers clothing-wise including our blue checked padded overshirts and the only time l could take mine off due to being too warm through working down to my heavy sweatshirt was around the twoish mark.

The temperatures started to drop again half an hour later, and it was back on even though l was still working hard. We finished at three because Suze’s neuropathy was playing up, and her feet became very painful because of the cold and hard frosted ground.

We had a stockpile of various materials that could be applied to the beds themselves, and yesterday of the fifteen raised beds needing to be sorted, we managed to secure soils for thirteen of them. The last two [Nos 2 & 10] will be addressed when we finalise all the beds in Stage 2.

Stage 1 was to add a mixture of 200 pounds of coffee grounds, 21 bags of assorted of homemade compost and worm vermicasts and five bags of commercial compost mix which when combined amounted to 1100 kg to be added into the beds as part of the preliminary soil feeding for the spring 2023 measures.

Next week when we finalise stage 2, we will have two tons of sieved compost and vermicast soils to work with and add to the beds. This will add additional depth and much-needed nutrients, which l mentioned in this series a couple of months ago.

Then we will not have to worry about anything with the beds themselves or any new soil work until we uncover them to make them ready for planting in April. This is why it is imperative to complete everything groundwise before the end of December.

The earth within the raised beds was challenging due to the colder climate and the heavy frosts and was rock hard most of the time. We were not adding fresh mixtures to the grounds to dig in or over but merely as a top mulching layer.

From this point till March or April time and whilst under the weed matting, the soils will be able to rest and recover and feed and warm up naturally.

All the nutrients of the mulching we do this month will slowly leachate into the earth – more so when it rains. New microbial activity will develop also. All the homegrown composting and worm-farming soils we have added had thousands of either eggs or worms residing within to help activate other life in the raised beds themselves.

Obviously, for me being more of a brown than a green gardener, l love working with the soils and making the grounds or, in this case, the raised beds ready for the upcoming season. When the grounds are well prepared, one of the most challenging parts of gardening is done.

The allotment has an excellent bed layout. The soil is accessible from all sides, meaning you never have to step into the bed when the plants are growing. A good bed of soil has a light fluffiness to the earth. There are many benefits to raised beds which l shall discuss in depth in another post.

This is our first soil preparation season, so we are still learning how this particular plot functions. We got a fair idea of where the sun shines best, and our vegetable layouts next year will reflect this information. However, that was the September sun, so we have yet to discover what the spring and early summer sunshinings are like.

I took note a few months ago that the soils within the plot were seriously depleted of nutrients which is why Suze and l have been busy with this final preparatory task of the year. This time next year, these same soils will be much richer, and our routine for feeding them will be very different. But as I said, l will address that another time.

Getting the fifteen beds into a position of rest is our primary goal, and all is going well, and we are on track.

The raised beds during the various phases of being mulched on Thursday

Thanks for reading – l’ll catch you next time.

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Published by The Autistic Composter

Earthly Comforts is a wildlife journaling scrapbook focusing on the countryside, wildlife biodiversity and environmental conservation, flora and fauna volunteering projects, gardening, composting and vermiculture, inspiration, poetry and photography.

9 thoughts on “The Joys of Gardening

    1. Hey Betty – she is able to cope with more than she used to, but whilst last winter was harder for her as she was still going through recovery the winter was milder.

      This winter has been a lot harsher and it is really testing her.

      Hell it’s testing me, working as we were last week, the backs of my calfs are caning me and l know that is down to the cold and also our regular walking routine was broken.

      Liked by 1 person

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