The Ever Growing To Do and Tick Off List

Plot 17 – The Earthly Comforts Garden

Season Two – Planning Plot 17 January – April 2023
The Allotment Plotters Directory
The Ever Growing To Do and Tick Off List
Before one sees the pretty, you have to work the shitty!

A considerably minor task in comparison to so many others – this is the back entrance to the Plot. It was horribly overgrown by weeds mostly aggressive dog rose and blackberry. Suze cleared it during the stage when the raspberry plants were being shifted about. We need to get a pallet and secure it into this location to act as a permanent back gate.

This strip had to be cleared of the aggressive weeds growing here which were mostly groundsel a hardy little weed. Suze started the weeding but it was very labour intensive by hand and l told her to leave it be so l finished off with the hoe. Twenty feet of hoe work in partially frozen grounds proved backbreaking.

Suze weeded the outside instead and cleared the area for future planting. She found some more raspberry bushes here which looked like they might prove viable to leave in.

Suze and l were over at the allotment many times during January, either carting stuff backwards and forwards or working on several small to medium sized jobs jobs. There are more significant tasks ahead of us for the spring months. I will be ordering our polytunnel next week, which will have to be erected sometime in March.

The ground it is destined to sit on will have to be prepared, which will be a lengthy chore. It’ll require digging the top soil level out by a good 3 – 5 inches, which will mean a lot of soil will be around. Just as well we can use it with the raised beds that will be inside the tunnel, so all is well.

But with the ground and the area preparations, we are looking at a good few weeks before the tunnel will be ready to be used. It’s not just the soil that needs to be dug up and moved elsewhere, but we also have to protect the area the tunnel will be in. So a wind barrier of sorts is to be erected as well. This will be in the form of a confined twig fence.

A confined twig fence is constructed using twigs, and thin branches placed down the centre of two wire fence lines. Imagine two posts six feet apart. Then imagine each side has wire fencing stretched along. The centre of the two posts is not wired, but this creates a wire gap that you can fill with your twigs and slim branches.

It will provide an excellent barrier for the lower struts of the tunnel and protect the structure against winds. We plan to create these wire twig fences for roughly 30% of plot 17.

In other areas of the allotment plot, we will strengthen the boundary with either new wire fencing or windbreaker netting or obstruction and construction. Construction examples would be the siting of the six compost boxes whilst obstruction examples would be the introduction of various dead wall walls using decaying logs.

The polytunnel, preparing the ground area and fencing is a substantial job that will likely take Suze and l around a month to complete. That is set to start sometime next week.

You may recall when l wrote l had marginally injured my back and my knee whilst digging soils over at the allotment. It was caused by digging into frozen hard ground. Two strips had to be prepared to be covered by weed mats to prevent weed growth as well as ready the grounds for the planting of Blueberry bushes that require an acidic soil of between 4.5 – 5.5 pH [potential hydrogen] in April. The soils needed a few months to make ready. I achieved this by adding coffee grounds and suplure chips.

The gallery above is the Blueberry Strip from digging out the old currant bushes to making the ground ready and covering it.

Water harvesting is a job requiring some dedicated work as well. We are now looking into acquiring a much larger water container over several smaller vessels and building a structure specifically with water collection in thought.

We are considering making the structure in the photo above, which will stand over a 1000-litre IBC tank [intermediate bulk container].

This would provide the entire allotment with a substantial amount of natural water, and if we built it like this example in the photo, we would always capture sufficient rain for our needs. This would work in addition to our shed harvesting. If all goes well, we could have around 1800 to 2000 litres of rainwater. We are looking into having this small lean to built opposite the shed and if we build it right we could connect the two buildings together.

So the polytunnel and rainwater harvesting are two significant jobs we need to have completed between now and the end of April. In truth, the sooner we can get them finished, the better.

One of the other smaller jobs l worked on was to clear beneath the shed door. There has been some subsidence due to general wear and tear as well as water fall. This caused the shed to slip somewhat as well as the ground around it. This meant the door was very difficult to open easily without getting caught on the ground so l dug several inches away from beneath the door and chipped it.

Come the months of spring Suze and l have plans to lay some concrete slabs under the door extending to an area in front of the shed where we shall have a small sitting area.

But for the time being this is a simple but effective make do and now the door opens easily.

One of the other tasks which need to be carried out and finalised, preferably before the end of March, is re-siting the six compost bins. Currently, they are laid out in two rows of three back-to-back, and the new strategy is to have them in one long line of six along the fence line.

It will make for a more efficient way to compost than the original layout we have in place now. But it must be done when the grounds are harder than they are now.

All our trays and pots cleaned and ready for the sowing up which will start in the next week or so. We have two shelving units set up in the kitchen ready for seed trays as well as use of Edward’s greenhouse next door. We will be using everything.

Suze and l decided that we would plant directly to the soils in early April, hopefully, after the last potential frosts, which are usually end of March.
Everything in the way of plans has to be precision oriented as best as possible.

So like the game Telephone, the list gets longer – polytunnel, fencing, rainwater catchment, compost move and planting plans.

Those are the medium to larger jobs at hand. Some of the smaller tasks are washing and cleaning out all the proposed bits of kit associated with sowing vegetable seeds. So pots and trays and seed planters have to be made ready.

From nightmare and chaos to orderly and functional – the shed is now finally more efficient.

The shed down at the allotment was a nightmare of a mess. So l spent several hours over two days last week tidying that up and making everything functional and efficient. That’s now ticked off the to-do list.

Suze working on the digging up and transferring the raspberry bushes. it is easier this time of year when they are not flowering.

Another enormous task was to get bark chippings into the entire allotment. Whilst it might have been easy to order them from an outside source, we decided to use the chippings that were dropped off at the gate by one of the local arborists. Save money where you can.

That occupied us for a fair amount of time last week as it is a very long way from the front gate to where we are at the back of the field. Twelve barrel loads were, however, shipped and dropped off between us. A little bit at a time may not solve the entire issue, but it’s still better than nothing.

I barrowed ten loads last week, and it nearly killed me, but where we put it, it looks better. However, now we have to wait for more to be dropped off. Come the spring, l might order a couple of extra tons in as the weather will be drier. It’ll be easier barrowing the bark chips from the front. Although if we are lucky the ground can withstand a delivery lorry and if so they can drop the two tonnes off closer to where we are.

The list grows – Polytunnel, fencing, rainwater catchment, compost move and planting plans, shed tidy and bark chips.

We were also busy tidying the ground up – Suze worked on digging the raspberry plants along the back fence line out and repositioning others into the strip whilst l busied myself covering more of the ground with weed matting.

Minor, small, medium-sized and large tasks and chores, jobs and assignments are created and achieved, ticked off, moved or partially ticked. But slowly and surely, the Earthly Comforts plot is coming together quite nicely.

Another task l completed was the first stage of the rewilding project for Plot 17. Introducing a broader biodiversity of species.

This phase was establishing the bird feeders and other phases will see the arrival of aged and decaying logs for beetle habitats and mini-dead walls.

Once this hedge starts to produce foliage and blossom again l think we will see quite the range of bird species visiting. I had robins and blue tits alongside blackbirds and thrushes, wrens and sparrows as well as a magpie. So l think that once the birds become accustomed to seeing bird feed here, the word will get around.
Our Robin eyeballing the giant feeder!

Thanks for reading

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.

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 Ever Growing To Do and Tick Off List

  1. Wow, Rory! I’m impressed. That is a lot of work you are doing. We have used oak leaves and pine needles in the past for our blueberries. They have done quite well. Do you plan on using netting to keep the birds from stealing your berries?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Ruth, oh yes we will most assuredly be netting the berries all of the berries hahaha as much as l love the birds in the garden, l am not keen on them stealing the fruits of our labours.

      I have heard that pine needles are great for lowering the pH of soils, we don’t have a great deal of them readily available here sadly.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: