Allotment Potato Beds, Raised Beds and February Tasks

Well, I’ve discovered a problem I never expected – when you have two days of good weather in a row, in a February that has followed one of the worst winters you can remember, you go a bit daft.

We spent ALL Friday and ALL today at the allotment, and I have to go back tomorrow too – although only for plot inspections with Site Representatives, not for actual allotment work.

The thing is, I’m cream-crackered! On Friday, before we went to the allotment, I planted out the Babbington’s Leeks in the greenhouse. Once we got to the plot we dug the potato bed over again, Himself raked the bean and pea bed, and I dug compost and some sand into the two raised beds which seem to be pure clay. We planted potatoes in tyres on 235 and 201, on the basis that while it may not be organic, it’s at least environmentally friendly to use up some old tyres in this fashion – and it’s supposed to get you your earliest new potatoes up to three weeks earlier than other methods because as long as you keep one empty tyre above the height of the haulm, there won’t be any frost damage to the plant.

Today, while Himself planted carrots in one raised bed, having built a nifty fleece-covered lid for it too, I planted the Jerusalem artichokes that Janet very kindly gave us yesterday. We hadn’t planned anywhere for them, so it was a swift decision to stick them along the fence by the thornless blackberry. Then we marked out the herb and simples garden (sounds posh, but actually it’s the size of two broom cupboards!) because Ray had given the Association some lovely wallflower plants for any plotholder who wanted them, and I’d taken a nice big clump, before remembering that they needed to go in yet another area of completely untouched plot.

Janet took two of our rhubarb transplants and June had a couple too. Ray also say he’d like some so we agreed to drop four pots off to him on our way home as his plot is on our way to the gate. I found myself potting up loads more rhubarb as a result, and Himself got busy putting up the frame for the climbing French beans, Cherokee Trail of Tears, that Fran gave us as a seed swap. The frame is actually a bit of shop fitting that was being thrown out, and as we're 'waste not, want not' we said we'd take it. We've used another one horizontally to make a frame for our blackberry to climb up/along and there's a third version, which is actually two much skinnier sections, with rungs rather than a grid, that we're planning to turn into an ornamental archway at one entrance to the plot - note that word 'planning' because it's one of those things that sounds great but as it actually requires two fences to be re-built so that the arch actually has some purpose. I suppose we could just stick it up anyway, but it would look pretty silly. So instead it lurks in the shed and I fall over it and curse all the time. Anyway, you can just see the carrot bed, with its fleece lid, in the foreground of the blue bed with the frame in it.

And Himself had already dug up a huge clump of snowdrops from home that needed transplanting into the plot, so I did those, then dug over the first of the herb beds, the equilateral bed we’re calling it, and then Anita and John from next door asked if we wanted some old-fashioned purple iris that they had going spare, and of course we did, and they had to be planted out while himself hoed around the raspberries and …

I came home and fell asleep on the sofa! If this good weather carries on, I shan't be able to cope. Mind you, I can't afford any more time off work either, so perhaps that will stop us working ourselves to shadows. Although we've still got to plant sweet peas, marigolds, tomatoes, leeks ...

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Saturday, February 21, 2009


Anonymous Amy said...

Just reading your post makes me feel tired! It will be worth it though, just wait until you get the first harvest.

February 22, 2009 at 2:31 AM  
Anonymous lottie said...

I have really enjoyed reading your blog - and will continue to do so

February 23, 2009 at 11:49 AM  
Blogger Mark Hubbard said...

Marigolds are for pest eradication, right?

Why sweet peas?

And I have a problem. I thought because I was by the sea, the salt air was pretty much controlling white butterfly, but I've planted brussel sprouts and they're getting hammered by something - I think white butterfly; holes all through them. I've got them planted amidst silver beet, and peppers, which have nothing attacking them at all. The whole point of growing veges is that I want organic, so spraying is not an option. Any suggestions? I've heard perhaps soapy water, but I can't see how that could be a permanent solution.

February 24, 2009 at 1:08 AM  

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