Its no secret to those that follow me on twitter that I am getting increasingly frustrated and disillusioned with the sheer work that I need to put into my allotment to even start growing anything. I have inherited a rectangle of grass with trenches. I did my best to keep positive with every spade full of clay I heaved up and out of the ground, trying to create a raised boarder and ending up with a slippery death trap. I covered the majority of it with plastic and have been using that to try and kill back some of the grass but nature refuses to accelerate the process.
After a bit of grumbling and a final admission that no, I don’t know what I’m doing I was given some wonderful advice from Sara at Edible Bristol (she also blogs here) and Andrew (Blogs here) who’s patient and enthusiastic hand-holding and encouragement gave me the boot up the arse I needed to find the joy in what i was doing, not the slog. With clay I have two options, raised beds or forking in manure. I missed the boat on adopting the no dig method for this year if I wanted to get on and grow things so will be looking at incorporating that onto the plot somehow over the winter.
I bit the bullet and ordered a ton of well rotted cow manure, it gets tipped right on the path by the plot and I had three lovely strong bodies as well as my own to help shift mine and my plot buddies tons. I had struggle to picture what a ton of well rotted cow manure looks like, so here you go. Marvellous.
It took 4 hours to get both the piles moved and it was all I could do with the strength I had left to dump a few wheelbarrows on the crap looking beds I had previously made, rake flat and recover with plastic. I wish I could have done more but i could barely function. We did find more slow worms though, 10 of the little guys. Love me a slow worm and they should keep the slugs down.
Whilst feeling disappointed that I don’t have the time to get up to my plot more that once, or at a push, twice a week at weekends I have been focusing on newspaper pots. As a new grower I have been throwing any seeds I could get my grubby hands on and chucking them in seed trays etc to see if anything would grow, luckily, life finds a way and I have a plethora of seedlings to plant. Downside is they all need carefully taking out of the shared pot and popping into a single newspaper pot ready for planting in the next few weeks. I am jumping on anyone that might be near a newspaper at the moment and am spending nights in front of Masterchef rolling newspaper around a Worcester sauce bottle, taping, filling with soil and swearing when I snap another set of roots off my brussel sprouts.
I also tried my hand at crowbarring pallets apart ready to be nailed back together as raised beds, I shall let you know how that goes and if I end up in A&E. I think we all agree the crowbar completes the look though.