There’s probably …

Plot 17 – The Earthly Comforts Garden

Season Two – Planning Plot 17 January – April 2023

The Allotment Plotters Directory
There’s probably going to be some strange weather this week!!
In the Spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours.

Mark Twain

The area in front of the triple compost bins already looks way better bark chipped than bare groundsheet but there is still a long way to go before all of Plot 17 can boast this appearance.

Plot 17 has experienced minor, and significant changes to the layout l displayed a few weeks back. It is best to make these alterations before all the raised beds are full of vegetable plants, meaning significant differences could only be made in the seasons to follow where we are now and might take a year to amend.

I decided to remove three mini-beds from the growing schedule. There were originally six on the allotment – three of which were to be inside the polytunnel. Those three will stay, but the three outside have been dismantled, and their soils have been relocated to the sweet potato beds, which needed to be deeper.

The sleeves will now be used for additional content storage in the utility area and utilised to more advantage in the ground near the polytunnel for the bean and pea towers.

In dismantling these three mini beds, l also have decided to remove and extract raised beds 1, 4 and 7, which will be performed this week as a task. These are long-established beds, having been constructed initially by Mike in 2012. They no longer serve the growing schedule requirement for Suze and myself.

The vegetables we discussed being here will now be planted into other beds, and the strategy behind this move is quality versus quantity. The soil from these beds will also be transferred into the other beds requiring increased depth.

The space will not remain empty for long. Our new plans are to site pots, tubs, and growing bags along the stretch for herbs, fruit trees and potatoes. This allows us to support more mobility in the plot.

The rainwater harvesting station will now cover the entire area where the beds were initially. The continued rain in recent months has educated me further, and something tells me we might see more of these rainy seasons over those of the drier sort from previous years. Our allotment needs to capitalise on harvesting that resource more. I have also made an area along the fence line which will be available to store surplus rainwater units.

Our plans for constructing the polytunnel will also have to be placed on hold and extended into the spring season. Wet and windy weather hampers any plans. The wetter conditions have also slowed the seed planting process; we could only commence that on Saturday.

The coming week’s spare time will now be allocated to planting the pots. These pots must be kept in the house and the greenhouse next door until we can erect the tunnel on the allotment.

When can the polytunnel be built? Sometime in April, we hope.

The problem with the sowing of seeds is that they fall mainly onto Suze’s time. Being allergic to soil means l have to wear goggles now every time l am working with any gardening job, and whilst that is ‘fine’ if we are outside, l still have issues with the goggles if l am leaning over soil and compost and the mould spores are closer to my eyes and face. My allergy seriously hinders my ability to assist in the finer seeding work.

Bark chips are few and far between free deliveries to the allotments, so every time l see a new heap that has been dropped off, instead of starting work on the plot, l first grab a wheelbarrow and cart it the 800 steps back to the front gate, fill the barrow and haul it around.

On Saturday gone, l noticed a new heap and then spent the next 45 minutes ferrying four barrel loads of chippings to plot 17, which is roughly 320 kg of bark. It is tiring work, but it pays off practically and aesthetically. I have managed to guestimate that for the entire area that still needs to be chipped, l would need around four to five tons of content if l was looking to cover a depth of approximately two-three inches.

Five tons of bark chips are in old money, around 4000 kg, which means l would need to walk one hundred plus wheelbarrow loads to and fro if l had it delivered at the front gate. I am hoping that, come to the drier weather, a delivery van could tip the required load on a tarp inside the allotment where Suze and l can barrow it in shorter distances. Until that happens, l must seize the opportunity and barrow between four to eight loads every time a new mound is dropped off.

Besides everything else, there are quite a few new tasks this coming week – like the alterations and shifting around the raised beds. Two of these more unique projects are 1] the insertion of the worm towers [l’ll discuss this next time] and 2] the laying of cardboard on the beds.

The raised beds that will be left will need new soil work performed this week, and Suze and l need to turn or ‘fluff’ up the soil in the beds to have a lighter soil to grow into. We have collected a mountain of cardboard [primarily thanks to a friend who was fitting out a new apartment with furniture], and we now have vast quantities of brown cardboard, which l can use as compost tops and raised bed inserts to grow into.

The practice is quite simple – place the cardboard onto the soil like you might do a weed mat and make the necessary insertions – cut away squares or make slits – and plant into these areas. The cardboard acts as a matting and suppresses both weeds and slugs. Once the growing season is over, leave the card in place and cover it with fresh compost to bed down for the next season or gather and compost it down. Cardboard takes between 4 – 6 months to decompose.

Looking at the weather for this coming week which changes as quickly as l breathe, we are looking at fifty-fifty in rain and sun on one forecast, whilst another informs me there is no rain till the end of the week. I think l might prefer the estimates to be called Good Luck or Bad luck! At least they would be more accurate, or maybe even “There’s probably going to be some strange weather this week!”

In layperson’s terms, this translates to either l am going to have three relatively good days weather-wise to work on the allotment from this Monday to next Sunday or one due to the weather hampering everything again.

Oh well, time will tell.

The new layout of the plot [first image] makes for a much smoother ride into quality – the whole less is more strategy.

I hope you have enjoyed this post, thanks for reading and I’ll see you next time. Till then, have yourselves a terrific day!

The Autistic Composter

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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.

24 thoughts on “There’s probably …

      1. Yesterday we did a hell of a lot of work, today we are feeling seriously bruised and battered, but it was a good day and long day too. We started at 10 and didn’t finish until just after 6pm.

        I also made some big decisions to eliminate stress too.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I had several x-rays a week ago, and am waiting to hear back from them tomorrow. But they took images of my right knee, hip, pelvis and lower back, so hopefully we can see what is what. If it is muscle damage, or a strain or a tear and then take action on that.

        Pain wise the doctor’s advice is mostly take paracetamol which l am doing when l need to and brace where l can. I currently brace both knees and my elbow on the right side as l have ateral epicondylitis.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Over here currently in the UK, waiting lists for surgery are at times three years, it’s not always a case mentally more simply of when.

        I have put off knee surgery twice since 2010 preferring to exercise more, l think this time around it might be an option, but if the waiting list is too long then it’ll be a case of discipline physical therapy. But then my shoulder should have been operated on and they opted for physio instead and that is still buggered, so it’s fifty of one and half a dozen of the other sadly now.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Lookin good! Is good for quality over quantity and if really good – there be supply and demand lol … that’s good too!

    Do you plan to sell the things you grow? Like a farmers market?

    Sorry you have allergies – tiz the season lol ✌️

    I am allergic to oak trees badly – I have some weirdo allergy that makes these diamond shards come from my eyes – so I stay away from oak trees – but I think they are beautiful ❤️ I can only admire from afar

    Weather wise – Tuesday and Wednesday rain for us… temps around 50 degrees 😝

    We just be rainy a lot now 😮

    For us that’s gonna make the grasses and weeds really BIG and then come summer they dry out and become fire tinder 😮

    We see what happens this year ??

    Great job on the planning 👏 as always!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Trisha 🙂

      We can’t sell any of the produce we erm, mm hahaha produce – funny the way one words means two things and has two different pronounciations too.

      The allergy first began in 2017 when l thought l was experiencing strange allergic conjunctivitis to the compost l was using inside the greenhouse. My eyes swell and always feel gritty.

      Since then it has progressively just gotten worse to where l am now and l must wear protective coverings on my hands and goggles on my eyes.

      At least l no longer experience the swollen eyes 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha that’s funny

        Mine is VERY similar – just those diamond shards my eyes do, slice the outer edges of my eyes 😝😝😝

        I have to have these eye drops that is literally just one ounce – in teeny tiny bottle – for like $60 🤨 but I do it because I can not take the diamonds 💎

        I guess is salt from tears in eyes and pollen and it crystallizes at the edge of my eyes 👀 some of the diamond shards can be large 😮 like a diamond 💎

        It starts like what you say… thinking is conjunctivitis at first… before the diamonds come, so I have some warning

        But like I said – mine is just around oak trees 🌳 the mighty oak lol

        I am not around oak trees too much to do goggles 🥽 – but yours, you are around it all the time, so good idea for you!

        I haven’t had diamond shards in a long time – I make sure I have those drops! And also stay away from oak lol ✌️

        Liked by 1 person

  2. It looks like less confusion, though I’d still simplify it one more level — as long as you leave room to walk between planting areas, something WE forgot to do when we set up gardens. We though we’d done it and forgot that time and weather tend to shift the soil. Also, have rain/snow years soften it and it shifts from the bottom up. It was a mistake we couldn’t come back from. I just believe that simpler is better because we don’t get younger, just older and if there’s more work than we can handle, it doesn’t get done. We always THINK it will get done, but life can throw curve balls at you.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I have been there before when l had ‘giant’ raised beds in a garden l had and because they were only 24″ wide, l figured l would be able to get to everything from the front, and so when l set up these enormous beds l placed them only 12″ away from my external fence … it was a disaster! I couldn’t even afford to bed over these beds without injuring myself of the blessed fence! Huge lesson learned that day.

        When Suze and l got the allotments here with the beds already laid out the first thing l noticed was the space/walkways between each one and thought ‘oh yes the guy who created this knew what he was doing” 🙂


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