The Allotment Diaries: August (1)

1st August

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When the Committee announced that they’d had another 20 tonnes of top soil delivered yesterday, we decided to spend an hour or so filling our raised bed early this morning.

The first thing I did was to re-measure the bed – which is now confirmed as 189 inches x 47 inches (internal) and 189 inches x  54 inches (external).

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We completed a thin layer on the bottom, and I sprinkled chicken poo pellets over the bed.  Then we continued filling the top (West) end, which is furthest away from the soil heap.

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Despite some well-intentioned advice from a chap walking his dog, about only raking AFTER we’d filled in with compost, we continued working in our own way.

The reason I raked the bed, before it is completely filled is that there are large clumps of soil which I couldn’t break down – and which went into the middle of the bed – AND I was trying to get soil into the corners AND along the sides to hold the weed-control liner in place.

While I have planned our every activity to expend the least amount of energy (start at the back, work our way forwards – it makes it easier next time).

The lorry delivering the topsoil got stuck. It was due to be towed out by tractor later.

10 August

Today was a volunteers day – Fill a Bed: Build a Fence.  Only one of these things happened, and it wasn’t the fence!

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We made three trips from the car park to our raised bed carrying old compost bags filled with home-made compost (and worms) from my old green compost bin.  We spread this across the bottom of the raised bed and continued filling it.

There was a great community spirit with everyone joining in and helping to fill each other’s beds. Nine out of ten are filled now.  We left the tenth in case the people renting it wanted to put down weed-control membrane before they started.

It’s been great chatting to the other bed-holders and finding out their level of experience. – anything from ‘love growing things but haven’t the room’ to ‘never done it before, keen to give it a go.’

One bed, rented by a childminder, has even been planted up!  The joys of looking after other people’s children is that you always have a willing army of helpers with buckets and spades – and if it tires them out too, that’s a bonus!

I only got as far as measuring my plot to map out my three  4 feet x 4 feet beds and my four 9 inch x 4 feet strips for my bee-friendly plants – crocus, lavender, rosemary, lemon balm etc for the bees.  There are hives nearby and we need the bees’ help.

We’ve still got a few more bags of old compost to take down to site.  I need to step up compost production in my new bins.  Unfortunately, all my chard has bolted, so needs pulling out and composting – just as soon as weather conditions allow.

The Final Plans

Year 1Year 2Year 3

All we need now are a few days of warm, sunny weather to dry out the soil and our lovely worms to make a start munching through the lumps.

There will be no planting in this bed this side of Christmas!

I’m going to start my garlic and crocuses off in pots in September.  I’ve already taken lavender, rosemary and lemon balm cuttings, so more of those are needed too.

The next volunteers day will be all about the fence.


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