|Plot 17 – The Earthly Comforts Garden|
Season One – Recovering Plot 17 September – December 2022
|The Allotment Plotters Directory|
|Just One Fine Day More|
|Raised Beds – 2, 5, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13 and 15 all had their soils increased significantly on Monday.|
|Slowly the bed’s depth increased wonderfully, and in some cases, they are a few inches from the top, so a very healthy depth. If we have any vermipost surplus from the other ton box, we will top up the double-tiered beds again.|
|It was great to empty off one ton of compost into the beds and have one side of the twin tunny empty. |
But this also means that the next clear day, l am down here and not shifting vermicomposts; l can finally turn the full compost next to the empty unit. That compost pile was created on the 12th of September and all we have done in all that time is add waste materials to it, so it is desperate for a decent turning.
With the empty unit above, l can now perform that turn.
|Just One Fine Day More|
Suze and l managed to get to the allotment on Boxing Day for a few hours and work with increasing the soil depth of eight of the fifteen raised beds. We still have seven to complete before the end of this year or at least in the first week of January 2023. Everything is reflective of the weather.
For the last week or so, we have had rainfall on alternate days, which is acceptable in some respects, especially if you are only adding soils to raised beds because it is not explicitly hindering your efforts but not conducive to healthy working conditions if you are looking for clear days to work on another’s garden with undergrowth weeding.
In our case, the Butchery Garden, we will be back this Thursday if everything goes well. We had hoped to be able to get there one day last week, but in between poor weather and me falling ill on Wednesday night and not recovering till Christmas Eve, spare time didn’t materialise.
However, we managed to get to plot 17 on Monday, and between us, we emptied off one of the two tons of available compost soil fillers for the raised beds. The two box storage units held a mixture of compost types. The one we emptied was aged horse manure, old earth and green wastes that had been sitting inside the two units when we first arrived on the allotment in September.
You may recall that l made one new heap from the two old ones, spun the unturned waste dirts a few times, and then let it sit under better conditions to improve further. It became a beautiful mixture to deposit into the beds.
The eight beds we worked with are the plot’s more extensive double-tiered beds, seven measuring seven by six feet by twelve inches deep and the eighth measuring seven feet by three feet by twelve.
The remaining seven beds to increase their depths are all seven feet by three feet by twelve, and they will have a ton of vermipost [vermicast and compost] dedicated to them, which they might only need some of. Still, the surplus can go into the double-tiered beds and top them up further again.
I know Beds five and ten are most likely to have sweet potatoes, so they need to be deeper soiled.
Once all the soils are in the beds, we can afford to relax a little for a while until the planting season is with us, which will begin in March and run through to September, given our plans for the growing seasons and how we are looking to utilise the beds. Well relax as far as soil work goes anyhow.
|When l consider that this is not a compost pile that is turned regularly, that it has waste products ‘just’ emptied into it every two weeks and drowned in rainwater, l am impressed 1] with the way it always manages to compost down between six to nine inches in that time and 2] of the fabulous caffeine addicted worm population it has!|
It’s unbalanced, but it’ll only take little time to rectify once l can work with it regularly.
|Plot 17 Layout 2023|
|Suze and l also have had to change some of our plans regarding the allotment, and we discussed those in some detail, which will also be covered in the next series.|
But, with the current problems regarding the likes of avian flu in the UK, it does make a person reexamine initial thoughts on this subject, and as much as we want to have chickens, certain realities must be explored.
The price of chicken and eggs is increasing in the consumer market, but so is the cost of laying chickens, poults and chicks. Then there are the added expenditures of making the suitable size enclosure, chicken coop, and, really importantly, the cost of the feed itself.
Also in the last six weeks, l have dramatically reduced my egg intake from 28 weekly to twelve. Suze eats maybe eight and we use around a dozen for cooking other dishes with. So we now only buy three dozen a week and don’t use them all as opposed to five to six dozen a couple of months ago.
To have our own needs laid means we no longer need the original number we thought about. Whilst we would still very much like to have chickens, we have placed that desire onto the back burner, and therefore the space that was going to be initially dedicated to them on the allotment is no longer required for that purpose.
Another reason for holding off on this project is we both agreed that it would be much easier to have chickens closer to home, especially given how they must be managed and maintained 365 days a year, and this means we would have to travel backwards and forwards daily which given the weather of late wouldn’t be so bad if we lived in a short walking distance to the allotment but given that we don’t. Well.
With the chickens no longer an allotment adventure, we now had a surplus of expansive space/s. We have decided to utilise the ex-chicken area for smaller raised beds for shaded vegetable growing – beets, shards, radishes and so on.
The Polytunnel area has also changed, which will now be sited into half of the orchard space, while the remaining half will still be fruit trees. The old polytunnel space will now be dedicated to composting, worm farming and storage. The front of that area will be double-layered blueberry and raspberry bushes.
The compost boxes along the dividing fence line between our plot and neighbours would double serve to shore up that fencing.
A much larger composting area will make my job that much easier and free up valuable space to act as a storage area. Suze and l have a few ideas to support the allotment, which we cannot exercise in a business sense directly as this would breach our contract, BUT the allotment can act as our showcase.
I plan to write more about composting and worm farming next year, and l am also toying with a back garden vegetable concept for people who want vegetables all year. So l need a larger space for those ideas to work and be worked too. So l am not unhappy with the new changes.
|I was remarkably stressed last Sunday, and l was very grateful to be able to get outside in the open air for a good part of Monday and whilst it was cold, it was refreshing and welcomed. My stresses were reduced to zero in the first couple of hours. |
I have also decided to write about the rewards of gardening for mental health and even autism next year on the blog as l hugely benefit in a wellbeing and mindfulness sense when outside.
Preparation work currently on the allotment is hard graft. Suze and l both ache afterwards, and that hurting’ll not go away anytime soon. Once the significant tasks are done, it will become thankfully easier. It is still challenging but more manageable.
Setting the compost up in one straight line will also make everything easier. I was thrilled at the small peekaboo l had of the compost pile currently in situ. It is unbalanced because it is a one-ton box that needs to be turned regularly but is heating up to exceedingly high temperatures, even in this weather.
Once every two weeks, Suze and l dump bokashi, coffee, paper waste, cardboard and green waste on top of it, drench it in water, and then cover it and walk away.
One-ton closed compost boxes are not an ideal composting measurement, especially if they are not being turned. But once the six smaller units are lined up in the new format, l will be able to continue with smaller turnings more frequently. Many people are asking me to show them how to compost and produce the compost l do, so the quicker l can have the new set-up styled, the faster l can start this off.
One more day is all Suze, and l need to finish off the soils and then stage one is completed, just one more – one fine day.
|Thanks for reading – l’ll catch you next time.|
|Season Two – January – April 2023|
|Earthly Comfort Designs available on my Redbubble Store.|
Collections – Earthen Wurmin, Inspired By Nature and The Autistic Composter
Please Pop Along and Check Them Out.