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David Smith

Plot 48 - Slow Progress

Back in May last year I was becoming increasingly cross about the state of Plot 48, which is next to my Plot 46. It was neglected, shall we say, and a mass of dandelions and other weeds...now I know there is the odd dandelion on my plots, but this was getting silly.



So I started nagging poor old Fred, chairman of the committee, to throw the absentees off and let me have the plot. Eventually by July I had worn him down, and I got a third 5-poles.

Now, I knew that the previous incumbents had planted some fruit bushes at the bottom end, and that they had then just abandonded everything - they had another plot, equally neglected. By the time I got my hands on it the Couch Grass was hiding the fruit bushes almost completely.




David Smith

The fruit bushes had been planted with little regard to the long term, although some half-hearted effort had been made around the first dozen or so with membrane and bark-chippings, but woefully inadequately and meanly, so that the weed suppressing just wasn't working. I had to remove the Couch Grass (etc) and then get under the membranes and dig out as much of the roots as I could without disturbing the fruit bushes too much, and then re-do the membranes, adding rather a lot more, and barrowing in about a lorry-load of bark-chippings which the Council had kindly dumped for our use.  Then I caged part of this "soft-fruit orchard" - I'll do the rest when funds allow for more netting.









There are 18 fruit bushes, most of which still had the labels and price-tags on them. 13.99 on average, 4 Redcurrants, 6 Blackcurrants, a Cherry Tree, and 7 Gooseberry bushes.
David Smith







David Smith

One of the blackcurrant bushes has not survived, it'll be replaced by moving a Whitecurrant from 46 where it is being swamped by Comfrey, when I get a moment.

The rest of the plot, up the slope, was a mass of Couch Grass and other weeds, taller than me. I cut it down with a bill-hook, and covered it with carpet off cuts recycled from the bin behind our local independent carpet wallah, and the odd tarpaulin.



Then I set to digging beds out of it, and adding manure. Impoverished hardly describes it. Hardly a worm to be seen, the blackbirds and robins thought me completely useless! Apart from the Couch Grass roots like some evil spawn of Cthulhu and dandelions that make my attempts at growing Parsnips look rubbish, there was a mighty lot of stones. About a spade and a half down almost like a "pavement" to be broken through. If only I could find a decent recipe for cooking them!




David Smith







David Smith




David Smith

Took the camera with me yesterday - still got a  bit to do, and it's still bdooly hard work, but progress has been made.







Grandma Bodger

What a job youve had but you are getting there, well done will be watching this post  
Lorrainelovesplants

And not a drop of rain to be seen!
You are a definate miracle worker.
horace

Stick to it looks like you are doing some stunning work there  
LadySlip

Magnificent work David Smith
Rena

Agreed!! Well done!!
Digindeep

Great job there David, now we know where you have been of late

Some real back work and hours you have put in , its a credit to you    
brummie nick

I was an allotment holder for 20 years and can appreciate the hard work that's gone into making your plots look that good, well done.    
sod

As said what a great job you have done.  
David Smith

Thank you for the kind words - I'm still very much a beginner at this lark, and the way the weather's been the last few years it seems to be a different learning curve every year!

Got that part-dug bed finished today, it has 5 barrow-loads of horse-pooh manure under it now :-)

One thing that is encouraging is that when I cleared and dug over / weeded a bed on Plot 46 it took 45 minutes not 3 days, and was a doddle in comparison to working on the new Plot - so I know it'll be much much easier in future. SWMBO has suggested that I don't take any more plots on, can't think what she means!!

And the Purple Sprouting Broccoli last night was really nice - makes it worthwhile!

best wishes
David
David Smith

Here's a couple of photographs taken this afternoon - shows the bed last done, and the one adjacent set ready for Runner Beans - early I know, but I wanted to do something other than digging!

You can also see in the other picture that I have really only two more beds to tackle. Problem is finding the energy to start on it!

best wishes
David



brummie nick

I always found the Tarrex Spade a great tool for rough digging.

http://www.fredshed.co.uk/alternativediggingtools.htm
Digindeep

Your not hanging around David....  
Christine

David Smith wrote:
SWMBO has suggested that I don't take any more plots on, can't think what she means!!
David

Perhaps she has some jobs around the house for you? Perhaps she wants to go shopping with you? perhaps she's finding an awful lot of extra laundry from the extra work? Perhaps the smell of that good manure is over powering on the boots?

   
sod

   But you are doing agreat job and so fast too
David Smith

Now on the penultimate bed, as it were, for the bastard trenching, and the final one's going to be a relatively narrow bed. The carpet has definitely been a god-send, and is going on to become paths!

Curious how many stones I'm harvesting, and why there should seem to be a compacted layer of them just under a spade's reach down - is this a result of many years of shallow digging, sort of filtering the stones but not bothering to remove them?

Anyway, in true allotment style they're being put to use, as weights in mushroom punnets to hold down my mesh tunnels!

Best wishes
David



Digindeep

Stones, yes know all about them, they have been the bain of my life since taking over our garden.
The Guy who owned the house before ourselves, would dig over small flower beds and then pour bag loads of pebbles as paths, no menbrain.
Over the years they have been walked into the very clayish soil.
Three riddles on and still on going removing them.

Best of luck I'm sure you will get there in the end

Its all looking good so far....
Christine

There's one of the allotment holders on site near me who spent three years riddling out pebbles! He now has some excellent paths laid on membrane but there were a lot of jokes about pebbles whilst he was riddling. But he's the one who now has an excellent plot.
David Smith

Now there's just the one bed left to sort out, and it's only going to be a couple of feet wide :-)

The penultimate now has two rows of "Nicola" spuds in it!

Best wishes
David
captainhastings

Brilliant work David it takes some graft a credit to you.
I took my first plot last year and it looked like this


but with in few months I had this


Then took second plot in same shape and have just got that sorted. Like you it is a relief to get on top of things the constant slog can get a bit tiresome. Now I can't walk by a weed for fear of a repeat  


Keep up the good work  
polaris

David Smith wrote:
Now on the penultimate bed, as it were, for the bastard trenching, and the final one's going to be a relatively narrow bed. The carpet has definitely been a god-send, and is going on to become paths!

Curious how many stones I'm harvesting, and why there should seem to be a compacted layer of them just under a spade's reach down - is this a result of many years of shallow digging, sort of filtering the stones but not bothering to remove them?

Anyway, in true allotment style they're being put to use, as weights in mushroom punnets to hold down my mesh tunnels!

Best wishes
David





Is it possible the original owners dug up trenches and laid pebble bottoms for some reason? With it being so even and regular, seems intentional as stones usually come to the surface when left to themselves, do they not?
agapanthus

WOW!! You have done absolute wonders!!! Well done you!!!      

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