This morning I went down to the allotment much earlier than usual. I swung by the corner shop and picked up some food and ambled onto site. I opened up the shed and enjoyed breakfast in the sunshine.
Breakfast scoffed, I went over to say hello to Mel and her sister who were busy working. As an added bonus, I gave Mel the large tool hooks and a board of hooks left over from the shed renovation. I left them to work and bimbled off to make a start on the herb boxes via Cliff’s plot. I love Cliff’s new sign on his coop.
Today was the day to finally sort out the herb garden. I decided to line the box with some black fabric before filling it with compost. I managed to properly fill the box whilst keeping the fabric in place – trickier than it sounds!
I decided to put the lavender and rosemary bushes in the two smaller boxes as they would have more room and keep the larger box for the rest of the herbs. A quick dash into the shed and I returned armed with several packs of herb seeds. The ones in the cardboard pack, helpfully labelled as mixed herbs, I was happy to find we actually labelled and not a random assortment. I spaced them out in the box and added a sprinkling of oregano, thyme and sage seeds in the middle. Hopefully, they will grow!
Whilst I had been preoccupied with the herb boxes, Michael had been busy making tea for everyone. The ringing of the tea bell brought everyone out of the woodwork for a break. We all sat enjoying the sunshine and having a chat before heading back to work.
I spent quite a while looking at the bottom of the plot with all the weeds and decided not to bother with it today. Fortunately, I ran into Phil who kindly lent me his awesome hoe for the day. I made huge inroads with the weeds before going to feed the chickens.
The chickens were happily clucking away when I deposited the usual treats their way. I cleaned them out and left them to their scratching.
Onward onto the next job, planting. I have had this on the top of my job list for weeks. I spent several minutes trying to work out where to put the potatoes, onions and garlic. It’s important to rotate the crops but with little to no success with my potato crop the last few years, I have pretty much run out of new places to try. I avoided the potato problem by planting two rows of garlic bulbs in front of the shed and several rows of onions.
Finally, after a quick dash to the shop for more food, I spotted some slab fragments and a spectacular idea hit me. It’s one of those ideas that takes hold of you and you don’t bother with tiny details like practicalities or how your back will feel after 4 hours work…
I spoke to Steve about the fragments and he said they had been set aside for a job but that he had some better stuff now. I grabbed a wheelbarrow and filled up the barrow with fragments and naively headed off to the new bench. In my head, this is how it should have worked: I would make a gorgeous semi circle of crazy paving which would simultaneously look amazing and deal with the nightmare section that always always floods. Like I said, good idea in principle.
The reality was different. It took me fifteen minutes to level and flatten the ground before another five minutes trying to draw a perfect semi circle in the soil with a large spade. Next, I put down the fragments down to form the boundary with the rest of the plot. This took nearly an hour. Partly due to trying to alternate the colour of the fragments to make a pattern and because I had no idea how to do it. Will swung by as I finished the boundary to say there were more broken slabs behind the clubhouse I could use. All I needed to do was break them up with a hammer. This seemed like an excellent opportunity to vent my frustration with my own idiocy, so I grabbed several of the slabs and spent a good ten minutes smashing them with a large hammer.
The wheelbarrow now refilled with new fragments, I headed back. Two hours later and I was beginning to loose the will to live. I found my levelling left a lot to be desired which added to the difficulty in trying to lay the fragments. Eventually after another hour, it was over. Instead of using concrete or sand to keep the blocks in place, I used soil in an attempt to level off the uneven sections on the plot. I have compacted the soil between the fragments in an effort to keep them in place.
I spotted Rachel and stopped to chat for a bit whilst I tried to straighten out my back. We had a lovely chat about the never-ending list of jobs and how it never seems to end! In a final effort, I decided to plant two rows of the first earlies (Winston) and make a small ridge to mark where I planted them. Here’s hoping we actually get some potatoes this year!
So tomorrow I must actually tackle the dreaded weed covered section properly. I am also going to experiment with a new way of growing potatoes in a pot which Michael trialled last year, just as a back up incase of a total disaster with the rest of the potatoes.