Year Two – All systems are go!

After spending all of Saturday at the allotment in the glorious sunshine, I feel like year two at No.27 has officially started.

Year one, I focused on clearing and double digging just one side of the plot, mainly in order to only slightly overwhelm myself and not cause complete mental carnage. The left hand side stayed fully covered in weed membrane…until now!
If you are a new ‘allotmenteer’ I definitely recommend you start this way, it works wonders for many reasons. Plus when I told Monty Don this plan he agreed with me so there you go…priceless advice for free.

Both sides of the plot are now nearly ready to go, meaning double the space, double the produce and double the fun! Oh and double the watering….wahoo!!! Who needs the gym and dumbbell weights when you have a full size plot and two watering cans.

I feel like I haven’t shared a full shot of the plot in a long time, so….Welcome to No.27, my tranquil haven ready to be filled with sunshine, wildlife and scrummy yummy produce.

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Other than the owner it is a very traditional plot, no raised beds as yet, just lots of beautiful worm filled soil and random wooden planks to define paths. I need to make proper paths but am currently lacking thoughts on the best idea and funds. I am thinking of replicating the main path, so borders made out of pallets and free woodchip for the paths. Love the idea of brick paving too. If you have any other suggestions comment below.

Back to the weekend; Saturday morning I spent digging, weeding and raking the beds, as well as spreading the final well rotted manure. The amount of couchgrass and nettle roots has certainly reduced compared to the underground mass of last year, there is actually more soil than weeds now. Bringing great joy and relief, as well as a dose of confidence that my plan is working and installing no-dig isn’t far away.

After a quick break for lunch with my feet up on a tree stump and ice cream in hand, it was back to work and on to the fun tasks.

First up was sowing some Papaver Ladybird seeds in a halved barrel under my bird table. If you read my Blenheim Flower Show blog last year, you will know I fell in love at first sight with these ladybird like poppies. They are just stunning, so I can’t wait to have my own grown from seed on the plot.

Next on the list; sowing Unwins ‘Bright & Spicy Mix’ radish seeds in to a couple of galvanised containers. I love the fact that you get a selection of five different varieties all in one packet; Amethyst, Scarlet Globe, Sparkler, White Turnip and Zlata. Radishes are so easy to grow and one of the first things many people try, purely I think because you can literally make a small drill in watered soil, sprinkle the seeds, cover them up and leave them to be ready for harvesting within in a matter of weeks. Perfect crop for successional sowing too, right through from Spring to late Summer.

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Third activity was PEAS! I am very excited to grow peas and devour them fresh from their pods on the plot. So much so I am trying two varieties, one standard variety and another especially created for container growing. So if you are stuck on what variety is best for your lifestyle, look no further, one of these will be suitable.
The traditional variety are ‘Waverex’ a petit pois style pea from Groseeds, a heavy cropper which grows to a height of around 60cm, making it a perfect variety for growing in small or exposed gardens. Sown from Mid March to early June, you can harvesting by June to early August.
‘Tom Thumb’ are the alternative compact variety from Groseeds, a first early plant, producing a great crop of tasty full sized pods. Grown in containers, they are suitable for all lifestyles, including on balconies and in window boxes. A perfect choice for getting little ones involved at home or school, as well as young students and couples.

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Lastly before darkness drew the evening to a close, I quickly potted up two more dahlia tubers; Taylors Bulbs ‘Babette’ and ‘Sylvia’ varieties. I have four in total potted up now and 1 more to go this week, the plot will be full of colour and bees for sure.

That was certainly enough done for one day, I was knackered and feeling the heat of the sunshine on my freckled cheeks. I finished up my cup of tea, packed away the tools and headed on home for an hour-long soak.

My first weekend to do as I please and oh what a glorious one it was. Thank you Mr Sunshine, you most certainly had your hat on. Next time I will pack mine too.

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14 thoughts on “Year Two – All systems are go!

  1. Sounds like the best kind of day, especially the long soak afterwards! I wish we had taken the ‘cover and leave a season’ approach when we started. We are doing that this year with the top third and it will save so much work! We are planning to kill the weeds and then grass our paths because i think it will be a bit more child friendly for our little ones, and because its cheap. Lots of people have warned me against it though, especially with the mowing in summer, only time will tell!

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    1. The weed membrane takes a little investment, but so worth it isn’t it?! Makes digging and weeding that area the following year so much easier! I love the look of grass paths but as you mentioned they take a lot of mowing over the Summer and I want to spend my time doing other things on the plot over mowing.

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  2. we inherited an allotment full of couch grass. some beds made from decking boards already there. 4 yrs on & still perfecting. singles best thing to do was our pond. even if only small do recommend trying to have one. our paths created from weed suppressing membrane, which is quite cheap. laid onto weed free earth. then covered with chippings. works for us. I think an allotment is always a work in progress. enjoy it all!

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    1. Yes, I think I will tweaking and changing my plot for years. Completely agree with you regarding the pond, I have a small wildlife pond I put in last year. Your paths are the same as my main one then 🙂 Happy plotting!

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  3. Having a bit of a path conundrum myself – helpers on the plot laid down grass but never mow (luckily I have a strimmer) so I suggested taking up grass and using bark chippings instead. All agreed and were supposed to lay it over weed fabric but I recently heard cardboard under chippings works just as well – and even cheaper! Plus you can change your mind more easily than with grass. Your plot looks great by the way. :o)

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    1. Thank you Caro! I love the look of grass paths but takes up too much time strimming it and tidying the bed edges for my liking. I want to spend my time planting, sowing and keeping on top of the weeds. Have heard about a lot of people just using cardboard with great success, just need to have a huge layer of woodchip to suppress the weeds once the cardboard breaks down 🙂

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  4. Hi, well done on your plot, you have clearly been working hard! You’re way ahead of me in getting the plot ready – I am now in year 3 and have only removed the couch grass, and infinite other huge weeds from about two thirds of it. I have nearly sorted the paths though! Spookily i’ve just written a blog post on the subject. Please check The Green Fingered Blog for the details, but in a nutshell I recommend brick paving or slabs if you can reclaim/recycle any. Logistics of this can be tricky though – luckily for me I only had to move mine 100 yards from house to plot! Next best I reckon is definitely wood chips, which I am using round the outside of my plot. I haven’t worried about membrane, just chucked it on. Some weeds coming through so will have to deal with those but seems to suppress the grass and I think after a while it will get the better of the other weeds to. Of course, you could (unlike me) remove the weeds before putting on the wood chips! But that’s even more hard work right?

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    1. Hi Emma, Yes, was the same over the weekend just gone planting my spuds too. Said I wouldn’t do trenches, just holes instead but I couldn’t resist. Don’t know why I make it as hard work as possible for myself, haha. Back is ok luckily, was feeling it in my thighs though. Gives you a good work out for sure! Who needs gym squats and lunges when you have digging and weeding?! 🙂

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  5. I see some serious skip diving in your future to find those materials. Hopefully I’ve just picked up a load of old decking to use for similar things, so worth asking around. Good luck..

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    1. Haha, love a bit of skip diving! Cant go past a skip without slowing down slightly. I can get the pallets from work luckily and woodchip from a local tree surgeon. Good work getting decking for nothing!

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    1. I left for two seconds and drove to the garage and back, unfortunately no exciting ice cream van trip. I need to make one come visit this Summer somehow! You can drive straight in so it’s possible.

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