The Day of Decisions and Discovery

Plot 17 – The Earthly Comforts Garden

Season Two – Planning Plot 17 January – April 2023

The Allotment Plotters Directory
The Day of Decisions and Discovery
“In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect.” 
Alice Walker

Suze working the back sweet potato bed and increasing the bed depth from 8″ to 20″

Monday was a busy and physically tiring day down at the allotment for Suzanne and myself. Neither of us is shirkers to heavy work as it is, but still, it was a heavy pull on our energy levels. Jobs had to be done, and they were. We arrived there at 10 am and left at around 6.15 pm, and in all that time, we had only 25 minutes off for lunch and a couple of coffee breaks.

But at least the day was dry and pleasantly surprisingly hot, considering the forecast had said it would be cold all day. It was cold in the morning as we were preparing for the day. I was wearing four top layers of varying thickness, and l felt cold before we set off.

However, shifting the stuff we had to take down to the plot soon warmed me up, as everything had to be performed in several relays from the front gate to the actual allotment. It all takes time, and Monday, we had well over 100 pounds of coffee grounds in several bags, plus the green waste and several bags of earth.

It soon all weighed up on the day but warmed us up in the process. By 11 that morning, l was already down to only two thinner top layers of clothing and stayed with that until we left in the later afternoon.

Something about Suzanne is that she never awards herself enough credit for a job well done, and it’s almost like she cannot see that she has done an excellent job. Monday, Suze did a fantastic job in everything she was involved in.

It was a physically tiring day because we were both involved in various rigorous tasks like breaking down raised beds, shifting soil, lifting soils, carting wood chips and horse manure and digging over the compost. The day mainly concentrated on working with soil which, as anyone with experience with this will tell you, is a hard graft.

One of Suze’s prominent roles was to empty the soils of the three large established raised beds, which were to be emptied off and dismantled, as l explained in a previous episode.

To give you an idea of soil quantity, two beds measured six feet long by three feet wide with a depth of six inches, roughly 400 litres of soil per bed. There are 700 litres of soil per ton. On top of that, she also had a third raised bed measuring ten feet long, just under 1000 litres of soil. All in all, Suze handballed 1800 litres of damp soil around the allotment.

l was also working weights in soil, but considering that Suze was in Australia being run ragged by her family this very time last year, l think she has done bloody well-given cancer. Last year before she left for down under, she was still very frail. Sadly upon returning from Australia, she was even frailer, given how much stress she experienced whilst out there. Suze is no longer weakened by cancer and is much stronger and healthier.

The total amount of soil shifted on Monday from large and small mini-beds was around 2500 litres. Never mind the compost l was turning at an additional 600 litres. So it’s little wonder that when Suze and l got home at about half six, got some dinner, collapsed and watched forty-five minutes of something on TV that we both retired for the night at 9 pm. I turned my light out at ten and was asleep within seconds. I was up Tuesday at 5 am but feeling ragged as hell. Suze was mainly the same.

Allotmenteering is not for the faint of heart, for sure!

Monday’s main task was to break down the more extensive established beds no longer wanted, relocate their soils to the other raised beds that needed more soil depth, and fluff up the planting grounds in readiness for cardboard laying and actual planting. Initially, the plan was to dismantle the three established raised beds and free up the land strip they occupied for assorted pots. This has changed slightly.

The dismantled mini-beds were meant to free up the area and extend and stabilise the rainwater harvesting station. This is still going ahead.

However, whilst all the jobs on the checklist were completed on Monday, l found some valuable information regarding the horse manure delivered to the allotments twice a month from the ranchers themselves, which allowed me to make a new plan for the area of the established beds.

The information l received was that the ranchers are organic and anti-chemical regarding keeping horses! This was excellent news, and this information made me review my entire worm farming operation and decide to take them into a different position as a business.

Initially, the decision was to take down the three beds, and now only one will be immediately dismantled, whilst the other two will remain in location.

Of the two remaining, the most prominent one measuring ten by three feet will become active for another purpose – worm farming. The second bed will be constructed later this year. However, for the time being, we are starting with just one although l feel the second supporting bed may be ready to fill by August. The present depth of the bed is just six inches, and next week l will increase that by another eighteen inches.

But l will cover this entire decision in the next episode of The Adventures of a Worm Farmer in April when the series will begin properly.

This means Willow’s entire worm farming operation will move to the allotments. Some may recall that l mentioned a couple of weeks ago whether the worm business would be moved undercover or to Plot 17. Well, the latter is the decision.

As to the new uses for current worm beds, the largest one will stay here at the house and become a kitchen herb garden, whilst the smaller ones will also move down to the allotment but be planted up.

I must prepare the new farms, but we will move the herds to their new location in May. The bedding substrates need to be warmed. More importantly, this move will undoubtedly improve my stress levels regarding this operation.

The various stages of Monday’s digging and transference of soils between active beds and dismantled beds. We were lucky we had a beautifully sunny day to work in and with.

The bug hotel/dead wall is slowly building. I am able to add additional materials from gardening as well as compost turns when l extract twigs that simply delay the turning process. The visiting birds all love the inclusion of this feature.

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.

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